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How do we test water under the earth?

January 6, 2021 0 Comments frp-vessels , polymer

If you are directly using groundwater for consumption and daily needs, then it’s very important to test water quality to maintain a safe and reliable source. Regular testing is quite crucial to:

  1. Point out existing problems.
  2. Check water is suitable for consumption.
  3. Track changes in quality over time.
  4. Regulate the effectiveness of ongoing treatment method

The nature of a water source may change over the long haul, even unexpectedly. Changes may be unnoticeable as the water may look, smell, and taste the equivalent. The only way is to get the water sample tested in a laboratory. Certain chemicals present in the water source may create long term health problems. Regular testing will check the water quality and ensure whether the treatment system is working properly or not.

The water sample may have a presence of several components like nitrates, sulfates, iron, fluoride, the hardness of water, TDS, etc. Several tests must be conducted to ensure their level of presence and how to treat them properly. The different types of test that should be performed are mentioned below:

  1. Test for TDS: As per BIS, TDS under the level of 500mg/lit is acceptable. There are several methods of testing TDS and they are:-
  1. TDS meter: Easiest of all. Provides instant results and readily available. Just immerse it inside the water sample, press the button, wait for 10-15 sec, it will show the reading.
  2. Electrical conductivity meter: It is a commonly used method. It basically works by releasing an electrical current into the water which measures its resistance.
  3. Using Filter paper & weighing scale: It is a conventional method. It can be performed easily at home. It requires few materials to conduct the treatment method.
  1. A clean and sterilized glass beaker
  2. Water sample for measuring TDS levels
  • Filter paper
  1. Evaporating dish
  2. A sterile stirring stick
  3. Pipette large enough to collect a minimum of 50 ml
  • A weighing scale

Weigh the evaporating dish. Stir the water sample vigorously. Collect a water sample of 50ml in a pipette. Extract it on a filter paper. Weigh the evaporating dish with the filtrate. Use the formula written below to calculate the level of TDS.


TDS = [(A-B) X 1000]/ml sample

(A = weight of the evaporating dish and the filtrate, B= the weight of the evaporating dish alone.)


These are the methods for testing the TDS level. They are easily available and can be performed by anyone at home.

  • Test for Nitrates/Nitrites: For safe drinking water, their levels must be less than 1 ppm. Excess presence can cause developmental issues, blood-related problems, and perhaps cancer. High levels of nitrates and nitrites can impact the hemoglobin in your blood. Home testing water analysis kits are available in the market. These kits include strips for testing these two components. To conduct the test:
    1. Remove the test strip from the packet labeled CL/CO/NA/NI.
    2. Get the strip at the end with no pads.
    3. Dip the strip in the example 3 times and bring it out without shaking off abundance water.
    4. Hold the test strip level for 2 sec.
    5. Place the strip on the results color chart and wait 45 sec and stand by 45 seconds before perusing the outcomes for nitrate and nitrite.
  • Sulfate test: The presence of this component in excess amount can lead to dehydration and is of special concern for infants. The levels must be below 250 ppm. The testing kit incorporates the sulfate test; however, for sulfur issues, the research facility should provide a special compartment that has a chemical preservative. The testing kit has the testing units incorporated with an examining manual, a survey, and data on restoring the sample.
  • Test for Fluoride: Fluoride concentrations must be in-between 0.7 to 1.2 mg/l. Excess presence could cause discoloration or mottling of the teeth. There are two methods of testing fluoride: colorimetrically and potentiometrically.
  1. Colorimetrically: Colorimetric techniques that use a photometer or spectrophotometer are more precise than standard test packs as the color is perused by an instrument versus the natural eye. Photometers and colorimeters measure the absorbance of the particular wavelength using either colored filters or an LED bulb that emits light at a particular wavelength. It eliminates the subjectivity variable.
  2. Potentiometrically: Potentiometric techniques for estimating fluoride are definite and precise however, take a few more steps. For direct estimation of fluoride in water tests, we will generally suggest the HI4010 Fluoride ISE (half-cell) combined with the HI5315 Reference Electrode. While there are combination electrodes that join both the detecting and reference electrodes into one test, you accomplish more steady fluoride readings with the half-cell.
  • Test for Iron: Iron concentrations should be less than 0.3 mg/l. The Iron MR test has the most impressive decomplexing specialist, and this test can deliver iron from EDTA and polyphosphate water treatment chemicals, for example, Calgon. It can even break down and measure colloidal and fine particulate iron. The outcome might be treated as absolute iron. Hardly any substance tests are totally explicit, most being dependent upon obstructions from some other synthetic species. The science of the Iron MR test has great particularity for iron with not many obstructions. Every one of these contemplations makes it an especially valuable test for mechanical water applications and erosion checking.
  • Test for the hardness of water:It literally refers to the presence of such as calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and zinc. Hardness is removed from water systems by precipitation or ion exchange. The range of hardness is mentioned below:-



Concentration (ppm) Hardness Rating
< 61 Soft
61-120 Moderately Hard
121-180 Hard
>181 Very Hard
  1. Bring at least 100 ml of water from any source. (Note: a 20 oz soda bottle contains 514 ml.)
  2. Pour 25 ml of the water sample into a 250 ml flask.
  3. Get 25 ml of DISTILLED water and add to the same flask. (This will not affect the titration, but it makes the endpoint easier to recognize.)
  4. Use an eye-dropper to add 20 drops of the pH 10 solution (called a buffer) to the same flask.
  5. Then using a spatula, add a pea-size amount of indicator (in the form of a powder) to the same flask. The result- the color of the solution should be red.
  6. Clean and fill your burette along with EDTA solution and note down the initial volume.
  7. Titrate until the solution changes color from red to blue. When this happens note the final volume. Remember, this is just a trial run to get an approximate point, this does not count.
  8. Repeat steps three more times. Calculate the ppm of CaCO3 for each run and then calculate the average value for these three trials.

Thus, the methods listed above are the ones to test different components in water.