Can you drink your water or is it better as a home for aquatic plants and animals?
Turbidity is the measure of how murky a liquid is. Lots of materials can cause water to be more turbid, including things like:
- Very tiny inorganic and organic matter
- Dissolved colored organic compounds
- Plankton and other microscopic organisms.
During periods of low flow, many rivers are a clear green color, and not very turbid. During a rainstorm, things from the surrounding land are washed into the river, making the water a muddy brown color, indicating water that is more turbid. Fast flowing water is also more capable of stirring up soil and other materials, causing higher turbidity. We see this in the wet season, when rivers are super murky and roaring! Turbidity may increase from soil erosion, high levels of algae and disturbed sediment.
What do the turbidity results mean?
Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU)
0: Water bodies with sparse plant and animal life
< 0.5: Drinking water
< 1.0: Typical groundwater
1-9: Water bodies with moderate plant and animal life
10-30: Water bodies with large plumes of planktonic life
20-50: Muddy water or winter storm flows in rivers
> 50: Very turbid water