Water testing and analysis - sample testing plant and testing beaker.

Water Testing Terminology from Agri Analysis, Inc.

Water Testing Terminology from Agri Analysis, Inc.

- Alkalinity
- Total Alkalinity
- Nitrate Nitrogen
- Nitrite Nitrogen
- pH
- Hardness
- Total dissolved solids
- Total Coliform Bacteria
- Non Coliform Bacteria
- E. coli Bacteria

 

Alkalinity

The amount of bicarbonate, carbonate of hydroxide compounds present in water solution.

Total Alkalinity

A measure of the ability or capacity of water to resist change in pH. Also known as the buffering capacity of water. Expressed as ppm and consists mainly of carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides.

Nitrate Nitrogen

A form of nitrogen that is available for plant uptake. However, in water, nitrate levels in excess of 10 mg/L (10ppm) are considered unsafe by U.S. EPA standards. Even values less than 10 mg/L can be hazardous to the health of small children and infants. Excessive nitrate nitrogen has the potential to restrict oxygen flow in the bloodstream.

Nitrite Nitrogen

A form of nitrogen that is available for plant uptake. However, in water, nitrite levels in excess of 1 mg/L (1ppm) are considered unsafe by U.S. EPA standards. Even values less than 1 mg/L can be hazardous to the health of small children and infants. Similarly to nitrate nitrogen, excessive nitrite nitrogen has the potential to restrict oxygen flow in the bloodstream.

pH

A value between 0-14 used to represent the acidic (<7) or basic (>7) nature of the material. A neutral pH is 7. Well water tends to fluctuate more than tap water, ranging in pH from 6-8. Water pH that differs from neutral can affect its use as a source for irrigation or drinking.

Hardness

Reflects the amount of dissolved minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium that are present in water. Hard water tends to leave "soap scum" residue which results from the calcium in the water reacting with the soap.

Total dissolved solids

Refers to the amount of inorganic salts or minerals as well or organic matter that is present in the water. The total dissolved solids contribute to water hardness, salt content and even the corrosiveness.

Total Coliform Bacteria

Measured in colony forming units per 100 milliliters (cfu/100mL), refers to a group of bacteria (which includes fecal coliform) and is used to assess the safety of water for drinking and irrigation uses.

Non Coliform Bacteria

Measured in colony forming units per 100 milliliters (cfu/100mL), the terminology is used to broadly define other bacteria present in the water that does not fit within the coliform group of bacteria. Some bacteria within this category can also cause illness.

E. coli Bacteria

Measured in colony forming units per 100 milliliters (cfu/100mL), member of the fecal coliform family, displays a strong linear relationship with number of colonies present and illness (gastrointestinal discomfort)

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