Suspended Solids

November 20, 2018

Suspended solids are relatively small solids that are carried by water in the form of colloidal suspensions. The solids, in this case, are either insoluble, or the fluid is saturated and cannot dissolve any more of the solute. Suspended solids are a measure of the water quality and have a direct bearing of the turbidity of the water, and is a leading cause of blockage of pipes and intake conduits. Suspended solids are scientifically abbreviated at SS. 

Theoretically, suspended solids are suspensions larger than two microns. Any colloidal suspensions smaller than two microns are considered as dissolved solids. The solids largely consist of inorganic non-biodegradable matter. 

What’s the concern about suspended solids?

Suspended solids are a concern in water and wastewater treatment plants because the solids are a measure of the quality of water. These solids also provide surface area on which water pollutants and disease-causing pathogens thrive. It’s even more serious if the solids are small because it translates to a larger surface area-to-volume ratio which means that the suspensions can carry more pollutants or pathogens. 

The solids come from a wide range of sources. They could be from farmlands, storm run-off, river sediments, or sewer spills among other imaginable sources. Much of the suspended solids in water treatment plants are from river erosion. Water with little or no suspended solids is generally considered as healthy raw water. The solids are not only a point of concern at water treatment plants but also a big threat to aquatic life. 

Total Suspended Solids

Abbreviated as TSS, total suspended solids is a measure of the dry weight of the suspended solids. These are solids particles large that 2 microns which can be collected using a filter for analysis. Total suspended solids are collected and used in the analysis of the solid content of raw water as per requirements in water treatment. 

Why is it important to measure the suspended solids?

The amounts of suspended solids have to be measured regularly. Almost daily in water treatment plants. This is an important measurement because it gives an indication of increase or reduction of the solids; a cause for alarm so that an appropriate measure can be taken with regards to the increase or reduction in the amounts of solids. It also ensures high efficiency in the biological treatment of raw water. 

Suspended solids and turbidity

Turbidity and suspended solids go hand in hand. While total suspended solids is a measure of the concentration of solid particles in a body of water, turbidity is a measure of water clarity. This clarity is affected by the number of suspended solids in the water. The higher the concentration of total suspended solids, the higher the turbidity. Therefore, turbidity is directly proportional to suspended solids. 

Here are some resources on how Rain for Rent can help you get rid of suspended solids from raw water.  

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