TDS Level in Water Purification
Where do Dissolved Solids come from?
1. Some dissolved solids come from organic sources such as leaves, silt, plankton, and industrial waste and sewage. Other sources come from runoff from urban areas, road salts used on street during the winter, and fertilizers and pesticides used on lawns and farms.
2. Dissolved solids also come from inorganic materials such as rocks and air that may contain calcium bicarbonate, nitrogen, iron phosphorous, sulfur, and other minerals. Many of these materials form salts, which are compounds that contain both a metal and a nonmetal. Salts usually dissolve in water forming ions. Ions are particles that have a positive or negative charge.
3. Water may also pick up metals such as lead or copper as they travel through pipes used to distribute water to consumers.
4. Note that the efficacy of water purifications systems in removing total dissolved solids will be reduced over time, so it is highly recommended to monitor the quality of a filter or membrane and replace them when required.
Why Should You Measure the TDS level in your Water?
The EPA Secondary Regulations advise a maximum contamination level (MCL) of 500mg/liter (500 parts per million (ppm)) for TDS. Numerous water supplies exceed this level. When TDS levels exceed 1000mg/L it is generally considered unfit for human consumption. A high level of TDS is an indicator of potential concerns, and warrants further investigation. Most often, high levels of TDS are caused by the presence of potassium, chlorides and sodium. These ions have little or no short-term effects, but toxic ions (lead arsenic, cadmium, nitrate and others) may also be dissolved in the water.
Even the best water purification systems on the market require monitoring for TDS to ensure the filters and/or membranes are effectively removing unwanted particles and bacteria from your water.
The following are reasons why it is helpful to constantly test for TDS:
1. Taste/Health High TDS results in undesirable taste which could be salty, bitter, or metallic. It could also indicate the presence of toxic minerals. The EPA's rescommended maximum level of TDS in water is 500mg/L (500ppm).
2. Filter performance Test your water to make sure the reverse osmosis or other type of water filter or water purification system has a high rejection rate and know when to change your filter (or membrane) cartridges.
3. Hardness High TDS indicates Hard water, which causes scale buildup in pipes and valves, inhibiting performance.
4. Aquariums/Aquaculture A constant level of minerals is necessary for aquatic life. The water in an aquarium or tank should have the same levels of TDS and pH as the fish and reef's original habitat.
5. Hydroponics TDS is the best measurement of the nutrient concentration in a hydroponic solution.
6. Pools and Spas TDS levels must be monitored to prevent maintenance problems.
7. Commercial/Industrial High TDS levels could impede the functions of certain applications, such as boilers and cooling towers, food and water production and more.
8. Colloidal Silver Water TDS levels must be controlled prior to making colloidal silver.
9. Coffee For a truly great cup of coffee, proper TDS levels must be maintained.
10. Car and Window Washing Have a washer with a spotless rinse? An inline dual TDS monitor will tell you when to change the filter cartridge or RO membrane
How do you reduce or remove the TDS in your water?
Common water filter and water purification systems:
1. Carbon Filtration
Charcoal, a form of carbon with a high surface area, adsorbs (or sticks to) many compounds, including some toxic compounds. Water is passed through activated charcoal to remove such contaminants.
2. Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) Reverse osmosis works by forcing water under great pressure against a semi-permeable membrane that allows water molecules to pass through while excluding most contaminants. RO is the most thorough method of large-scale water purification available.
Distillation involves boiling the water to produce water vapor. The water vapor then rises to a cooled surface where it can condense back into a liquid and be collected. Because the dissolved solids are not normally vaporized, they remain in the boiling solution.
4. Deionization (DI)
Water is passed between a positive electrode and a negative electrode. Ion selective membranes allow the positive ions to separate from the water toward the negative electrode and the negative ions toward the positive electrode. High purity de-ionized water results. The water is usually passed through a reverse osmosis unit first to remove nonionic organic contaminants.