Dissolved Solids

Definition - What does Dissolved Solids mean?

Dissolved solids refers to the measure of organic and inorganic substances within a liquid in an ionized, molecular and colloidal or suspended form. Measuring dissolved solids in water is of primary importance in terms of studying water quality for rivers, lakes, streams, etc.

These solids are not actually a major pollutant, but serve as a good indication of the aesthetic properties of drinking water as well as a collective indicator of the existence of a wide range of chemical pollutants.

Corrosionpedia explains Dissolved Solids

Dissolved solids may consist of the following:

  • Nitrate
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Chlorides
  • Sulfur
  • Iron
  • Other particles

In some cases, dissolved solids may also contain algae, plankton, clay particles and other kinds of particulate matter that cannot pass through 2-micron filters. Dissolved solids' concentration can affect the balance in water, which can impact aquatic organisms. For instance, organisms that are exposed to water with a low amount of solids, like distilled water, swell and move to an area with a high amount of solids. On the other hand, organisms in high-solid concentration environments shrink and the water inside its cells moves out. This makes the survival of organisms difficult, since high levels of dissolved solids serve as corrosives or toxins.

Dissolved solids may not only impact aquatic organisms, as it can also affect irrigated crops. High levels of dissolved solids can promote high pesticide concentration. Additionally, dissolved solids can reduce the efficiency of processes that utilize raw water as well as the treatment of waste water. Thus, it should be a standard practice to collect and study samples of dissolved solids in water in order to maintain quality water conditions.

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