Colour measurements are made on filtered samples and are important in evaluating the aesthetic quality of treated water. High values in raw waters generally indicate high organic content from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids.
Similarly, turbidity is caused by the presence of fine suspended material in the water and reflects the aesthetic quality of treated water. AWQC have dedicated turbidity meters measuring low level turbidities typically found in treated water samples high level turbidity in other water sources. This ensures that samples with high levels of turbidity similar to levels found in the River Murray do not mix with samples with very low levels thus increasing the accuracy of both measurements.
pH measurements are undertaken using a robotic analyser. The pH of water is a highly important characteristic as it affects equilibria between most chemical species, effectiveness of coagulation in water treatment processes, potential of water to be either corrosive or scale-forming and the suitability of water to support living organisms.
Conductivity measurements are also very important because they can be used to estimate the salt content or salinity of a water sample. The conductivity of a solution is a measure of its ability to carry an electrical current and varies both with the number and type of ions present in a water sample. The salinity of a water sample can be used to determine to what purpose a water can be utilised eg for potable use, industrial use, re-use schemes and also the possible source of a water sample ie whether it could be run-off, ground water, mains water.
To find out more refer to the Salinity Fact Sheet.
The alkalinity of a water sample gives valuable information as to the buffering capacity of that water ie its ability to resist changes in pH due to the addition of acids and alkalis. One example where the alkalinity is important is in various water treatment processes such as coagulation and disinfection.