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Total dissolved solids

Total dissolved solids

Overview
Total Dissolved Solids is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 substances contained in a liquid in: molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol
Sol (colloid)
A sol is a colloidal suspension of very small solid particles in a continuous liquid medium. They are quite stable and show the Tyndall effect. Examples include blood, pigmented ink, and paint....

) suspended form. Generally the operational definition is that the solids must be small enough to survive filtration through a sieve the size of two micrometer. Total dissolved solids are normally discussed only for freshwater systems, as salinity comprises some of the ions constituting the definition of TDS.
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Encyclopedia
Total Dissolved Solids is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 substances contained in a liquid in: molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol
Sol (colloid)
A sol is a colloidal suspension of very small solid particles in a continuous liquid medium. They are quite stable and show the Tyndall effect. Examples include blood, pigmented ink, and paint....

) suspended form. Generally the operational definition is that the solids must be small enough to survive filtration through a sieve the size of two micrometer. Total dissolved solids are normally discussed only for freshwater systems, as salinity comprises some of the ions constituting the definition of TDS. The principal application of TDS is in the study of water quality
Water quality
Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which...

 for stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s, river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s and lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, although TDS is not generally considered a primary pollutant (e.g. it is not deemed to be associated with health effects) it is used as an indication of aesthetic characteristics of drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

 and as an aggregate indicator of the presence of a broad array of chemical contaminants.

Primary sources for TDS in receiving waters are agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and residential runoff, leaching of soil contamination
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

 and point source
Point source (pollution)
A point source of pollution is a single identifiable localized source of air, water, thermal, noise or light pollution. A point source has negligible extent, distinguishing it from other pollution source geometries. The sources are called point sources because in mathematical modeling, they can be...

 water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 discharge from industrial or sewage treatment
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

 plants. The most common chemical constituents are calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

s, nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

s, sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 and chloride
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

, which are found in nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

 runoff, general stormwater
Stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...

 runoff and runoff from snowy climates where road de-icing salts are applied. The chemicals may be cations, anions, molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

s or agglomerations on the order of one thousand or fewer molecules, so long as a soluble micro-granule
Granule
Granule is a generic term used for a small particle or grain. The generic term is employed in a variety of specific contexts.* Granule , visible structures in the photosphere of the Sun arising from activity in the Sun's convective zone...

 is formed. More exotic and harmful elements of TDS are pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s arising from surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

. Certain naturally occurring total dissolved solids arise from the weathering and dissolution of rocks and soils. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has established a secondary water quality standard of 500 mg/l to provide for palatability of drinking water.

Total dissolved solids are differentiated from total suspended solids
Total suspended solids
Total suspended solids is a water quality measurement usually abbreviated TSS. It is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act. This parameter was at one time called non-filterable residue , a term that refers to the identical measurement: the dry-weight of particles trapped...

 (TSS), in that the latter cannot pass through a sieve of two micrometers and yet are indefinitely suspended in solution. The term "settleable solids" refers to material of any size that will not remain suspended or dissolved in a holding tank not subject to motion, and excludes both TDS and TSS. Settleable solids may include larger particulate matter or insoluble molecules.

Measurement of TDS



The two principal methods of measuring total dissolved solids are gravimetry
Gravimetry
Gravimetry is the measurement of the strength of a gravitational field. Gravimetry may be used when either the magnitude of gravitational field or the properties of matter responsible for its creation are of interest...

 and conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

. Gravimetric methods are the most accurate and involve evaporating the liquid solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

 and measuring the mass of residues left. This method is generally the best, although it is time-consuming. If inorganic salts comprise the great majority of TDS, gravimetric methods are appropriate.

Electrical conductivity of water is directly related to the concentration of dissolved ionized solids in the water. Ions from the dissolved solids in water create the ability for that water to conduct an electrical current, which can be measured using a conventional conductivity meter
EC meter
An electrical conductivity meter measures the electrical conductivity in a solution. Commonly used in hydroponics, aquaculture and freshwater systems to monitor the amount of nutrients, salts or impurities in the water....

 or TDS meter
TDS meter
A TDS Meter indicates the Total Dissolved Solids of a solution, i.e. the concentration of dissolved solids in it. Since dissolved ionized solids such as salts and minerals increase the conductivity of a solution, a TDS meter measures the conductivity of the solution and estimates the TDS from...

. When correlated with laboratory TDS measurements, conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

 provides an approximate value for the TDS concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

, usually to within ten-percent accuracy.

Hydrological simulation



Hydrologic transport models are used to mathematically analyze movement of TDS within river systems. The most common models address surface runoff, allowing variation in land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

 type, topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 type, vegetative
Vegetation
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

 cover, precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

, and land management practice (e.g. the application rate of a fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

). Runoff models have evolved to a good degree of accuracy and permit the evaluation of alternative land management practices upon impacts to stream water quality.

Basin models are used to more comprehensively evaluate total dissolved solids within a catchment basin and dynamically along various stream reaches. The DSSAM model was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA). This hydrology transport model is actually based upon the pollutant-loading metric called "Total Maximum Daily Load
Total Maximum Daily Load
A Total Maximum Daily Load is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards...

" (TMDL), which addresses TDS and other specific chemical pollutants. The success of this model contributed to the Agency’s broadened commitment to the use of the underlying TMDL protocol in its national policy for management of many river systems in the United States.

Practical implications



High TDS levels generally indicate hard water
Hard water
Hard water is water that has high mineral content . Hard water has high concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling...

, which can cause scale buildup in pipes, valve
Valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s, and filter
Filter (water)
A water filter removes impurities from water by means of a fine physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process. Filters cleanse water to various extents for irrigation, drinking water, aquariums, and swimming pools.-Methods of filtration:...

s, reducing performance and adding to system maintenance costs. These effects can be seen in aquarium
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

s, spas
Destination spa
A destination spa is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters...

, swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

s, and reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis is a membrane technical filtration method that removes many types of large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution when it is on one side of a selective membrane. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and...

 water treatment
Water treatment
Water treatment describes those processes used to make water more acceptable for a desired end-use. These can include use as drinking water, industrial processes, medical and many other uses. The goal of all water treatment process is to remove existing contaminants in the water, or reduce the...

 systems. Typically, in these applications, total dissolved solids are tested frequently, and filtration membranes are checked in order to prevent adverse effects.

In the case of hydroponics
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 and aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

, TDS is often monitored in order to create a water quality environment favorable for organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

 productivity. For freshwater oyster
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s, trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

s, and other high value seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

, highest productivity and economic returns are achieved by mimicking the TDS and pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 levels of each species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

' native environment. For hydroponic uses, total dissolved solids is considered one of the best indices of nutrient availability for the aquatic plants being grown.

Because the threshold of acceptable aesthetic criteria for human drinking water is 100 mg/l, there is no general concern for odor
Odor
An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans or other animals perceive by the sense of olfaction. Odors are also commonly called scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors...

, taste, and color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 at a level much lower than is required for harm. A number of studies have been conducted and indicate various species' reactions range from intolerance to outright toxicity due to elevated TDS. The numerical results must be interpreted cautiously, as true toxicity outcomes will relate to specific chemical constituents. Nevertheless, some numerical information is a useful guide to the nature of risks in exposing aquatic organisms or terrestrial animals to high TDS levels. Most aquatic ecosystems involving mixed fish fauna can tolerate TDS levels of 1000 mg/l.

The Fathead minnow
Leuciscinae
Leuciscinae, commonly known as true minnows, are a subfamily of small fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae.However, the term minnow is also used as an unspecific term for tiny freshwater and saltwater fish, especially those used as fishing bait....

 (Pimephales promelas), for example, realizes an concentration of 5600 ppm based upon a 96 hour exposure. LD50 is the concentration required to produce a lethal effect on 50 percent of the exposed population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

. Daphnia
Daphnia
Daphnia are small, planktonic crustaceans, between 0.2 and 5 mm in length. Daphnia are members of the order Cladocera, and are one of the several small aquatic crustaceans commonly called water fleas because of their saltatory swimming style...

 magna
, a good example of a primary member of the food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

, is a small plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

ic crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

, about five millimeters in length, having an LD50 of about 10,000 ppm TDS for a 96 hour exposure.

Spawning
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

es and juveniles appear to be more sensitive to high TDS levels. For example, it was found that concentrations of 350 mg/l TDS reduced spawning of Striped bass
Striped bass
The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater fish of New York, Virginia, and New Hampshire...

 (Morone saxatilis) in the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

-Delta region, and that concentrations below 200 mg/l promoted even healthier spawning conditions. In the Truckee River
Truckee River
The Truckee River is a stream in the U.S. states of California and Nevada. The river is about long. Its endorheic drainage basin is about , of which about are in Nevada. The Truckee is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and drains part of the high Sierra Nevada, emptying into Pyramid Lake in the Great...

, EPA found that juvenile Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest subspecies of cutthroat trout, and the state fish of Nevada.-Natural history:...

 were subject to higher mortality when exposed to thermal pollution
Thermal pollution
Thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature.A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers...

 stress combined with high total dissolved solids concentrations.

For terrestrial animals, poultry typically possess a safe upper limit of TDS exposure of approximately 2900 mg/l, whereas dairy cattle are measured to have a safe upper limit of about 7100 mg/l. Research has shown that exposure to TDS is compounded in toxicity when other stressor
Stressor
Stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, an external stimulus or an event that causes stress to an organism. An event that triggers the stress response may include for example:...

s are present, such as abnormal pH, high turbidity
Turbidity
Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality....

, or reduced dissolved oxygen with the latter stressor acting only in the case of animalia.
Total Dissolved Solids (often abbreviated TDS) is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 substances contained in a liquid in: molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol
Sol (colloid)
A sol is a colloidal suspension of very small solid particles in a continuous liquid medium. They are quite stable and show the Tyndall effect. Examples include blood, pigmented ink, and paint....

) suspended form. Generally the operational definition is that the solids must be small enough to survive filtration through a sieve the size of two micrometer. Total dissolved solids are normally discussed only for freshwater systems, as salinity comprises some of the ions constituting the definition of TDS. The principal application of TDS is in the study of water quality
Water quality
Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which...

 for stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s, river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s and lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, although TDS is not generally considered a primary pollutant (e.g. it is not deemed to be associated with health effects) it is used as an indication of aesthetic characteristics of drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

 and as an aggregate indicator of the presence of a broad array of chemical contaminants.

Primary sources for TDS in receiving waters are agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and residential runoff, leaching of soil contamination
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

 and point source
Point source (pollution)
A point source of pollution is a single identifiable localized source of air, water, thermal, noise or light pollution. A point source has negligible extent, distinguishing it from other pollution source geometries. The sources are called point sources because in mathematical modeling, they can be...

 water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 discharge from industrial or sewage treatment
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

 plants. The most common chemical constituents are calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

s, nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

s, sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 and chloride
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

, which are found in nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

 runoff, general stormwater
Stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...

 runoff and runoff from snowy climates where road de-icing salts are applied. The chemicals may be cations, anions, molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

s or agglomerations on the order of one thousand or fewer molecules, so long as a soluble micro-granule
Granule
Granule is a generic term used for a small particle or grain. The generic term is employed in a variety of specific contexts.* Granule , visible structures in the photosphere of the Sun arising from activity in the Sun's convective zone...

 is formed. More exotic and harmful elements of TDS are pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s arising from surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

. Certain naturally occurring total dissolved solids arise from the weathering and dissolution of rocks and soils. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has established a secondary water quality standard of 500 mg/l to provide for palatability of drinking water.

Total dissolved solids are differentiated from total suspended solids
Total suspended solids
Total suspended solids is a water quality measurement usually abbreviated TSS. It is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act. This parameter was at one time called non-filterable residue , a term that refers to the identical measurement: the dry-weight of particles trapped...

 (TSS), in that the latter cannot pass through a sieve of two micrometers and yet are indefinitely suspended in solution. The term "settleable solids" refers to material of any size that will not remain suspended or dissolved in a holding tank not subject to motion, and excludes both TDS and TSS. Settleable solids may include larger particulate matter or insoluble molecules.

Measurement of TDS



The two principal methods of measuring total dissolved solids are gravimetry
Gravimetry
Gravimetry is the measurement of the strength of a gravitational field. Gravimetry may be used when either the magnitude of gravitational field or the properties of matter responsible for its creation are of interest...

 and conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

. Gravimetric methods are the most accurate and involve evaporating the liquid solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

 and measuring the mass of residues left. This method is generally the best, although it is time-consuming. If inorganic salts comprise the great majority of TDS, gravimetric methods are appropriate.

Electrical conductivity of water is directly related to the concentration of dissolved ionized solids in the water. Ions from the dissolved solids in water create the ability for that water to conduct an electrical current, which can be measured using a conventional conductivity meter
EC meter
An electrical conductivity meter measures the electrical conductivity in a solution. Commonly used in hydroponics, aquaculture and freshwater systems to monitor the amount of nutrients, salts or impurities in the water....

 or TDS meter
TDS meter
A TDS Meter indicates the Total Dissolved Solids of a solution, i.e. the concentration of dissolved solids in it. Since dissolved ionized solids such as salts and minerals increase the conductivity of a solution, a TDS meter measures the conductivity of the solution and estimates the TDS from...

. When correlated with laboratory TDS measurements, conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

 provides an approximate value for the TDS concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

, usually to within ten-percent accuracy.

Hydrological simulation



Hydrologic transport models are used to mathematically analyze movement of TDS within river systems. The most common models address surface runoff, allowing variation in land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

 type, topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 type, vegetative
Vegetation
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

 cover, precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

, and land management practice (e.g. the application rate of a fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

). Runoff models have evolved to a good degree of accuracy and permit the evaluation of alternative land management practices upon impacts to stream water quality.

Basin models are used to more comprehensively evaluate total dissolved solids within a catchment basin and dynamically along various stream reaches. The DSSAM model was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA). This hydrology transport model is actually based upon the pollutant-loading metric called "Total Maximum Daily Load
Total Maximum Daily Load
A Total Maximum Daily Load is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards...

" (TMDL), which addresses TDS and other specific chemical pollutants. The success of this model contributed to the Agency’s broadened commitment to the use of the underlying TMDL protocol in its national policy for management of many river systems in the United States.

Practical implications



High TDS levels generally indicate hard water
Hard water
Hard water is water that has high mineral content . Hard water has high concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling...

, which can cause scale buildup in pipes, valve
Valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s, and filter
Filter (water)
A water filter removes impurities from water by means of a fine physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process. Filters cleanse water to various extents for irrigation, drinking water, aquariums, and swimming pools.-Methods of filtration:...

s, reducing performance and adding to system maintenance costs. These effects can be seen in aquarium
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

s, spas
Destination spa
A destination spa is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters...

, swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

s, and reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis is a membrane technical filtration method that removes many types of large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution when it is on one side of a selective membrane. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and...

 water treatment
Water treatment
Water treatment describes those processes used to make water more acceptable for a desired end-use. These can include use as drinking water, industrial processes, medical and many other uses. The goal of all water treatment process is to remove existing contaminants in the water, or reduce the...

 systems. Typically, in these applications, total dissolved solids are tested frequently, and filtration membranes are checked in order to prevent adverse effects.

In the case of hydroponics
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 and aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

, TDS is often monitored in order to create a water quality environment favorable for organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

 productivity. For freshwater oyster
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s, trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

s, and other high value seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

, highest productivity and economic returns are achieved by mimicking the TDS and pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 levels of each species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

' native environment. For hydroponic uses, total dissolved solids is considered one of the best indices of nutrient availability for the aquatic plants being grown.

Because the threshold of acceptable aesthetic criteria for human drinking water is 100 mg/l, there is no general concern for odor
Odor
An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans or other animals perceive by the sense of olfaction. Odors are also commonly called scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors...

, taste, and color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 at a level much lower than is required for harm. A number of studies have been conducted and indicate various species' reactions range from intolerance to outright toxicity due to elevated TDS. The numerical results must be interpreted cautiously, as true toxicity outcomes will relate to specific chemical constituents. Nevertheless, some numerical information is a useful guide to the nature of risks in exposing aquatic organisms or terrestrial animals to high TDS levels. Most aquatic ecosystems involving mixed fish fauna can tolerate TDS levels of 1000 mg/l.

The Fathead minnow
Leuciscinae
Leuciscinae, commonly known as true minnows, are a subfamily of small fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae.However, the term minnow is also used as an unspecific term for tiny freshwater and saltwater fish, especially those used as fishing bait....

 (Pimephales promelas), for example, realizes an concentration of 5600 ppm based upon a 96 hour exposure. LD50 is the concentration required to produce a lethal effect on 50 percent of the exposed population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

. Daphnia
Daphnia
Daphnia are small, planktonic crustaceans, between 0.2 and 5 mm in length. Daphnia are members of the order Cladocera, and are one of the several small aquatic crustaceans commonly called water fleas because of their saltatory swimming style...

 magna
, a good example of a primary member of the food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

, is a small plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

ic crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

, about five millimeters in length, having an LD50 of about 10,000 ppm TDS for a 96 hour exposure.

Spawning
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

es and juveniles appear to be more sensitive to high TDS levels. For example, it was found that concentrations of 350 mg/l TDS reduced spawning of Striped bass
Striped bass
The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater fish of New York, Virginia, and New Hampshire...

 (Morone saxatilis) in the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

-Delta region, and that concentrations below 200 mg/l promoted even healthier spawning conditions. In the Truckee River
Truckee River
The Truckee River is a stream in the U.S. states of California and Nevada. The river is about long. Its endorheic drainage basin is about , of which about are in Nevada. The Truckee is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and drains part of the high Sierra Nevada, emptying into Pyramid Lake in the Great...

, EPA found that juvenile Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest subspecies of cutthroat trout, and the state fish of Nevada.-Natural history:...

 were subject to higher mortality when exposed to thermal pollution
Thermal pollution
Thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature.A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers...

 stress combined with high total dissolved solids concentrations.

For terrestrial animals, poultry typically possess a safe upper limit of TDS exposure of approximately 2900 mg/l, whereas dairy cattle are measured to have a safe upper limit of about 7100 mg/l. Research has shown that exposure to TDS is compounded in toxicity when other stressor
Stressor
Stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, an external stimulus or an event that causes stress to an organism. An event that triggers the stress response may include for example:...

s are present, such as abnormal pH, high turbidity
Turbidity
Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality....

, or reduced dissolved oxygen with the latter stressor acting only in the case of animalia.
Total Dissolved Solids (often abbreviated TDS) is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 substances contained in a liquid in: molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol
Sol (colloid)
A sol is a colloidal suspension of very small solid particles in a continuous liquid medium. They are quite stable and show the Tyndall effect. Examples include blood, pigmented ink, and paint....

) suspended form. Generally the operational definition is that the solids must be small enough to survive filtration through a sieve the size of two micrometer. Total dissolved solids are normally discussed only for freshwater systems, as salinity comprises some of the ions constituting the definition of TDS. The principal application of TDS is in the study of water quality
Water quality
Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which...

 for stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s, river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s and lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, although TDS is not generally considered a primary pollutant (e.g. it is not deemed to be associated with health effects) it is used as an indication of aesthetic characteristics of drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

 and as an aggregate indicator of the presence of a broad array of chemical contaminants.

Primary sources for TDS in receiving waters are agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and residential runoff, leaching of soil contamination
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

 and point source
Point source (pollution)
A point source of pollution is a single identifiable localized source of air, water, thermal, noise or light pollution. A point source has negligible extent, distinguishing it from other pollution source geometries. The sources are called point sources because in mathematical modeling, they can be...

 water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 discharge from industrial or sewage treatment
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

 plants. The most common chemical constituents are calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

s, nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

s, sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 and chloride
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

, which are found in nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

 runoff, general stormwater
Stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...

 runoff and runoff from snowy climates where road de-icing salts are applied. The chemicals may be cations, anions, molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

s or agglomerations on the order of one thousand or fewer molecules, so long as a soluble micro-granule
Granule
Granule is a generic term used for a small particle or grain. The generic term is employed in a variety of specific contexts.* Granule , visible structures in the photosphere of the Sun arising from activity in the Sun's convective zone...

 is formed. More exotic and harmful elements of TDS are pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s arising from surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

. Certain naturally occurring total dissolved solids arise from the weathering and dissolution of rocks and soils. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has established a secondary water quality standard of 500 mg/l to provide for palatability of drinking water.

Total dissolved solids are differentiated from total suspended solids
Total suspended solids
Total suspended solids is a water quality measurement usually abbreviated TSS. It is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act. This parameter was at one time called non-filterable residue , a term that refers to the identical measurement: the dry-weight of particles trapped...

 (TSS), in that the latter cannot pass through a sieve of two micrometers and yet are indefinitely suspended in solution. The term "settleable solids" refers to material of any size that will not remain suspended or dissolved in a holding tank not subject to motion, and excludes both TDS and TSS. Settleable solids may include larger particulate matter or insoluble molecules.

Measurement of TDS



The two principal methods of measuring total dissolved solids are gravimetry
Gravimetry
Gravimetry is the measurement of the strength of a gravitational field. Gravimetry may be used when either the magnitude of gravitational field or the properties of matter responsible for its creation are of interest...

 and conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

. Gravimetric methods are the most accurate and involve evaporating the liquid solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

 and measuring the mass of residues left. This method is generally the best, although it is time-consuming. If inorganic salts comprise the great majority of TDS, gravimetric methods are appropriate.

Electrical conductivity of water is directly related to the concentration of dissolved ionized solids in the water. Ions from the dissolved solids in water create the ability for that water to conduct an electrical current, which can be measured using a conventional conductivity meter
EC meter
An electrical conductivity meter measures the electrical conductivity in a solution. Commonly used in hydroponics, aquaculture and freshwater systems to monitor the amount of nutrients, salts or impurities in the water....

 or TDS meter
TDS meter
A TDS Meter indicates the Total Dissolved Solids of a solution, i.e. the concentration of dissolved solids in it. Since dissolved ionized solids such as salts and minerals increase the conductivity of a solution, a TDS meter measures the conductivity of the solution and estimates the TDS from...

. When correlated with laboratory TDS measurements, conductivity
Conductivity (electrolytic)
The conductivity of an electrolyte solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity. The SI unit of conductivity is siemens per meter ....

 provides an approximate value for the TDS concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

, usually to within ten-percent accuracy.

Hydrological simulation



Hydrologic transport models are used to mathematically analyze movement of TDS within river systems. The most common models address surface runoff, allowing variation in land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

 type, topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 type, vegetative
Vegetation
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

 cover, precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

, and land management practice (e.g. the application rate of a fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

). Runoff models have evolved to a good degree of accuracy and permit the evaluation of alternative land management practices upon impacts to stream water quality.

Basin models are used to more comprehensively evaluate total dissolved solids within a catchment basin and dynamically along various stream reaches. The DSSAM model was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA). This hydrology transport model is actually based upon the pollutant-loading metric called "Total Maximum Daily Load
Total Maximum Daily Load
A Total Maximum Daily Load is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards...

" (TMDL), which addresses TDS and other specific chemical pollutants. The success of this model contributed to the Agency’s broadened commitment to the use of the underlying TMDL protocol in its national policy for management of many river systems in the United States.

Practical implications



High TDS levels generally indicate hard water
Hard water
Hard water is water that has high mineral content . Hard water has high concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling...

, which can cause scale buildup in pipes, valve
Valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s, and filter
Filter (water)
A water filter removes impurities from water by means of a fine physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process. Filters cleanse water to various extents for irrigation, drinking water, aquariums, and swimming pools.-Methods of filtration:...

s, reducing performance and adding to system maintenance costs. These effects can be seen in aquarium
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

s, spas
Destination spa
A destination spa is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters...

, swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

s, and reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis is a membrane technical filtration method that removes many types of large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution when it is on one side of a selective membrane. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and...

 water treatment
Water treatment
Water treatment describes those processes used to make water more acceptable for a desired end-use. These can include use as drinking water, industrial processes, medical and many other uses. The goal of all water treatment process is to remove existing contaminants in the water, or reduce the...

 systems. Typically, in these applications, total dissolved solids are tested frequently, and filtration membranes are checked in order to prevent adverse effects.

In the case of hydroponics
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 and aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

, TDS is often monitored in order to create a water quality environment favorable for organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

 productivity. For freshwater oyster
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s, trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

s, and other high value seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

, highest productivity and economic returns are achieved by mimicking the TDS and pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 levels of each species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

' native environment. For hydroponic uses, total dissolved solids is considered one of the best indices of nutrient availability for the aquatic plants being grown.

Because the threshold of acceptable aesthetic criteria for human drinking water is 100 mg/l, there is no general concern for odor
Odor
An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans or other animals perceive by the sense of olfaction. Odors are also commonly called scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors...

, taste, and color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 at a level much lower than is required for harm. A number of studies have been conducted and indicate various species' reactions range from intolerance to outright toxicity due to elevated TDS. The numerical results must be interpreted cautiously, as true toxicity outcomes will relate to specific chemical constituents. Nevertheless, some numerical information is a useful guide to the nature of risks in exposing aquatic organisms or terrestrial animals to high TDS levels. Most aquatic ecosystems involving mixed fish fauna can tolerate TDS levels of 1000 mg/l.

The Fathead minnow
Leuciscinae
Leuciscinae, commonly known as true minnows, are a subfamily of small fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae.However, the term minnow is also used as an unspecific term for tiny freshwater and saltwater fish, especially those used as fishing bait....

 (Pimephales promelas), for example, realizes an concentration of 5600 ppm based upon a 96 hour exposure. LD50 is the concentration required to produce a lethal effect on 50 percent of the exposed population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

. Daphnia
Daphnia
Daphnia are small, planktonic crustaceans, between 0.2 and 5 mm in length. Daphnia are members of the order Cladocera, and are one of the several small aquatic crustaceans commonly called water fleas because of their saltatory swimming style...

 magna
, a good example of a primary member of the food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

, is a small plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

ic crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

, about five millimeters in length, having an LD50 of about 10,000 ppm TDS for a 96 hour exposure.

Spawning
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

es and juveniles appear to be more sensitive to high TDS levels. For example, it was found that concentrations of 350 mg/l TDS reduced spawning of Striped bass
Striped bass
The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater fish of New York, Virginia, and New Hampshire...

 (Morone saxatilis) in the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

-Delta region, and that concentrations below 200 mg/l promoted even healthier spawning conditions. In the Truckee River
Truckee River
The Truckee River is a stream in the U.S. states of California and Nevada. The river is about long. Its endorheic drainage basin is about , of which about are in Nevada. The Truckee is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and drains part of the high Sierra Nevada, emptying into Pyramid Lake in the Great...

, EPA found that juvenile Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout
Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest subspecies of cutthroat trout, and the state fish of Nevada.-Natural history:...

 were subject to higher mortality when exposed to thermal pollution
Thermal pollution
Thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature.A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers...

 stress combined with high total dissolved solids concentrations.

For terrestrial animals, poultry typically possess a safe upper limit of TDS exposure of approximately 2900 mg/l, whereas dairy cattle are measured to have a safe upper limit of about 7100 mg/l. Research has shown that exposure to TDS is compounded in toxicity when other stressor
Stressor
Stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, an external stimulus or an event that causes stress to an organism. An event that triggers the stress response may include for example:...

s are present, such as abnormal pH, high turbidity
Turbidity
Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality....

, or reduced dissolved oxygen with the latter stressor acting only in the case of animalia.


Water classification


Water can be classified by the amount of TDS per litre:
  • fresh water
    Fresh Water
    Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

     < 1500 mg/L TDS
  • brackish water
    Brackish water
    Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers. The word comes from the Middle Dutch root "brak," meaning "salty"...

     1500 to 5000 mg/L TDS
  • saline water
    Saline water
    Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

    > 5000 mg/L TDS


External links