Total dissolved solids is the total amount of inorganic and organic material dissolved in a liquid. It can be measured by a test called a TDS meter, which uses electrical conductivity or optical light transmission techniques to calculate this total dissolved solids (TDS) level in your water. This article will review the different types of total dissolved solids, how to measure them, and how to reduce total dissolved solids in your water.
What is TDS in water?
Total dissolved solids (TDS) are the amount of organic and inorganic materials, such as metals, minerals, salts, and ions, dissolved in a particular volume of water TDS of water for drinking are essentially a measure of anything dissolved in water that is not an H2O molecule. Since it is a solvent, when water encounters soluble material, particles of the material are absorbed into the water, creating total dissolved solids.
Types of total dissolved solids
Here are some of the common total dissolved solids (TDS) that may be present in your water.
Sources of total dissolved solids
Total dissolved solids come from many sources, both natural and man-made. Natural sources of TDS include springs, lakes, rivers, plants, and soil. For example, when water flows underground in a natural spring, it absorbs minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, from rocks.
On the other hand, effects of human activity can also produce total dissolved solids in water. Pesticides and herbicides may come from agricultural runoff, lead may come from old plumbing pipes, and chlorine may come from water treatment plants. Total dissolved solids are even purposefully added to water sometimes, as bottled mineral water you come across in the grocery store may contain mineral additives used as the best UV Water purifier.
How is TDS measured?
The TDS (or Total Dissolved Solids) level of your water is an indicator of water purity. The higher the TDS level, the less pure your water is.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is measured as a volume of water with the unit milligrams per litre (mg/L), otherwise known as parts per million (ppm). According to the EPA secondary drinking water regulations, 500 ppm is the recommended maximum amount of TDS for your drinking water. Any measurement higher than 1000 ppm is an unsafe level of TDS.
Testing your water using a TDS meter is the simplest way to measure for total dissolved solids. For example, if a TDS meter says 100 ppm, that means that from one million particles, 100 are dissolved ions and 999,900 are water molecules. This would be considered a low TDS level. However, a TDS meter does not indicate what types of TDS are present, which is ultimately the most important information to know regarding your water quality. So, a home water test kit or a lab water analysis are recommended to reveal exactly what types of TDS are in your water.