Glossary of Terms

Adsorption: The water treatment process used primarily to remove organic contaminants from water. Adsorption involves the adhesion of the contaminants to an adsorbent such as activated carbon.

Alkaline: The condition of water or soil which contains a sufficient amount of alkali substances to raise the Ph above 7.0.

Anthracite Coal: Anthracite is a hard coal which is usually crushed and graded and is often used as a filter medium along with sand.

Cathodic Protection: An electrical system for prevention of rust, corrosion, and pitting of metal surfaces which are in contact with water or soil. A low voltage current is made to flow through a liquid ( water ) or a soil in contact with the metal in such a manner that the external electromotive force renders the metal structure cathodic. This concentrates corrosion on auxiliary anodic parts which are deliberately allowed to corrode instead of letting the structure corrode.

Chlorine Residual: Chlorine is used as a disinfectant in the water treatment process. When added to water, some Chlorine is immediately consumed by the water's organic and inorganic components. The remaining chlorine which is left is called the chlorine residual. The Colorado Department of Health mandates a minimum residual of .2 mg/L.

Coagulant: A chemical used in water treatment for coagulation. Coagulation is the treatment process that causes very small suspended particles to attract one another and form larger particles. Common examples of coagulants are aluminum sulfate and ferric sulfate.

Colloids: Finely divided solids that will not settle out of water for long periods of time unless the coagulation-flocculation process is used.

Floc: Collections of smaller particles ( such as silt, organic matter, and microorganisms ) that have been bound together into larger, more settable particles as a result of the coagulation-flocculation process.

Flocculation: The water treatment process, following coagulation, that uses gentle stirring to bring suspended particles together so that they will form larger, more settable clumps called floc.

Organic Matter: A substance of animal or vegetable origin, having carbon in it's molecular structure.

Ph: A measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in water.The pH may range from 0 to 14, where 0 is most acidic and 14 being most alkaline. Natural waters usually have a pH between 6.5 and 8.5.

Polymer: A synthetic organic compound with high molecular weight that is used as a coagulant aid in the water treatment process.

Sedimentation: Sedimentation which is also called clarification, is the removal of settable solids by gravity. The process takes place in a rectangular or round tank called a settling basin or tank.

Soda Ash: Soda ash is used to raise alkalinity in order to enhance the effectiveness of other coagulants.It may also be used to raise pH to control corrosion of copper and lead pipes in the distribution system.

Solids Contact Basin: A basin in which the coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation processes are combined. The water flows upward through the basin into a center contact zone. It can also be called a upflow clarifier or sludge blanket clarifier.

Transmission Mains: The pipeline or aqueduct used for water transmission from the water source to the treatment plant and from the plant to the distribution system.

Turbidity: A physical characteristic of water making the water appear cloudy. The condition is caused by the presence of suspended matter.

Key to Abbreviations

BDL - "Below Detection Limit". Result is below the detection limit of the test method.
MCL - 
"The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCL's
are set as close to the MCLG's as feasible using the best available treatment technology."
MCLG- "The level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water below which there 
is no known or expected risk to health. MCLG's allow for a margin of safety."
ND - Not Detected ( method Detection Limits available upon request )
NS - No standard has been established for this Parameter.
NTU - Nephelometric Turbidity Unit ( A measurement of the clarity of the water )
ppm - parts per million ( same as milligrams per liter, mg/L )
MF/L - Million Fibers per Liter
< - Less Than
> - Grater or Equal to
pCi/L - picocuries per Liter