Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Definition - What does Total Suspended Solids (TSS) mean?

Total suspended solids (TSS) are a water quality parameter that is defined as the quantity of material suspended in a known volume of water that is trappable in a filter. It is a component of the total solids of a water sample with the total dissolved solids being its counterpart:

Total Solids = Total Suspended Solids + Total Dissolved Solids

TSS is measured by filtering the water sample through a particular type of filter and comparing the filter’s weight before and after filtration. The TSS is then calculated as:

(Dry Weight of Filter and Trapped Material – Dry Weight of Filter)
Volume of Water Sample

The resulting value depends on the type of filter used.

TSS measurements are used in various industries. It can be associated with the amount of water pollution in a body of water. For industrial situations, measuring TSS is important because suspended solids can cause blockage and pipe damage.

Corrosionpedia explains Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

The buildup of suspended solids in water is affected by various factors. In outdoor systems, soil erosion causes increased solid material to enter bodies of water. In urban settings, weather can push material through urban runoff, which ultimately ends up in sewer systems. Septic systems and wastewater treatment add solids to the water. Decaying plants and animals add to TSS. High TSS levels are associated with water pollution.

It is important to consider the type of filter and how the measurement was taken when comparing TSS data. Finer filters may catch more suspended solids, but they can be more expensive and filter much slower.

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