Understanding The Importance of TDS In Water
It is very common. The moment people hear “TDS”, they become serious and concerned. This is because when they ask the finance team to explain the deduction in their salary, the reply comes, “It’s TDS!”
Thankfully, we are NOT talking about Tax Deducted at Source (TDS). We are talking about TDS in water, which is even more crucial than taxes, finances, and everything else. Why? Read on!
Water is the essence of life, and every living organism requires access to clean and safe drinking water for our health and well-being. However, some water sources may contain impurities that can harm our health. That’s where the measure of total dissolved solids (TDS) comes in. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the significance of TDS in drinking water and why it is essential to consider it for our health.
What is TDS in water?
Water has multiple different substances. TDS level is the measure of dissolved solids in particular. These can include various inorganic and organic substances, such as minerals, salts, metals, and other compounds. While some of these substances are found naturally in water, the rest are introduced through human activities such as industrial waste, agricultural runoff, or sewage. TDS is usually measured in milligrams per litre (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm).
Importance of TDS in drinking water
TDS level is an important indicator of water quality that can affect the appearance, odour, and taste of drinking water. High levels of TDS can cause it to taste salty or bitter, making it unpleasant to drink. It can also cause scaling on appliances and plumbing fixtures, reduce the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, and create a cloudy or murky appearance.
In addition to these aesthetic effects, high TDS levels can also indicate the presence of harmful contaminants. For example, high levels of lead or arsenic in drinking water can cause severe health problems, including damage to the nervous system, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. High levels of nitrates can also be dangerous, particularly for infants and young children, and can cause a fatal condition called methemoglobinemia.
Low TDS levels can also be a problem as it indicates a lack of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are crucial for our health, and their absence often leads to conditions such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Water that is too low in TDS can also be corrosive to pipes and appliances, leading to plumbing problems and costly repairs.
Types of TDS present in water
- Colour can also provide a food source for bacteria and other microorganisms, potentially leading to water quality issues.
- Microorganisms: Certain types of microorganisms, such as algae, bacteria, and viruses, can also be present in water as dissolved solids. These microorganisms can come from various sources, including surface water runoff, agricultural activities, and sewage discharges, and can impact water quality and safety.
- Anthropogenic pollutants: Human activities such as industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and urban runoff can introduce various pollutants into water bodies, which can contribute to TDS. These pollutants can include chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers, and other contaminants that canInorganic minerals: These include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and other minerals that are naturally present in water due to the dissolution of rocks and minerals in the earth’s crust. Inorganic minerals are the most common type of TDS in water and can have a significant impact on the water’s taste, hardness, and overall quality.
- Salts: Salts such as chloride, sulfate, and bicarbonate can also contribute to TDS in water. These salts can come from various sources, including natural processes like weathering and erosion, as well as human activities such as agricultural runoff and wastewater discharges.
- Heavy metals: Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium can also be present as dissolved solids in water. These metals can come from natural sources, industrial discharges, and other human activities, and can pose health risks if present in high concentrations.
- Organic matter: Organic matter, such as decaying plant and animal material, can also contribute to TDS in water. Organic matter can affect the water’s taste, odour, and affect water quality and pose health risks.
How to check TDS in water
There are several methods to measure TDS in water, including digital meters, test strips, and laboratory analysis. Digital meters are the most accurate and convenient, and they can be easily purchased online or at a hardware store. Test strips are another option, but they can be less accurate and more challenging to read. Laboratory analysis is the most accurate but expensive method.
TDS level chart for drinking water
The World Health Organization recommends a TDS level of 300 to 600 mg/L for drinking water. However, this guideline is not always followed, and TDS levels can vary widely depending on the source of the water. Generally, water that is too high or too low in TDS indicates potential problems and should be tested and treated if necessary.
Why should you measure TDS levels?
- Health and safety: TDS levels in drinking water can directly impact human health. High TDS levels can indicate the presence of contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, minerals, and other dissolved substances that may pose health risks if consumed in excessive amounts. Monitoring TDS levels helps ensure that drinking water is safe for consumption and complies with regulatory standards for water quality.
- Taste, odour, and aesthetics: High TDS levels in drinking water can affect its taste, odour, and appearance. Water with elevated TDS levels may taste salty, bitter, or metallic, have an unpleasant odour, or appear cloudy or discoloured. Monitoring TDS levels can help detect changes in water quality that may affect its sensory characteristics, which can impact consumer acceptance and satisfaction with drinking water.
- Water treatment: TDS measurement is important in water treatment processes. TDS levels can affect the selection and performance of water treatment technologies such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange. Measuring TDS levels in source water and treated water can help ensure the effectiveness of water treatment processes in reducing dissolved solids to acceptable levels for drinking water.
- Compliance with regulations: Many countries have regulations or guidelines on TDS levels in drinking water to protect public health. Measuring TDS levels helps ensure compliance with these regulations and guidelines, which set limits on the allowable concentrations of dissolved solids in drinking water to ensure its safety for consumption.
- Source water monitoring: Monitoring TDS levels in source water, such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater, can help identify potential changes in water quality, detect pollution sources, and inform appropriate mitigation measures. Regular monitoring of TDS levels in source water can help ensure that drinking water sources are protected and that water treatment processes are effective in producing safe drinking water.
- Consumer awareness: Measuring TDS levels in drinking water can increase consumer awareness and understanding of water quality. Providing information on TDS levels in drinking water can help consumers make informed decisions about their water usage, treatment options, and potential health risks associated with consuming water with high TDS levels.
Ways to reduce TDS in water
- Reverse Osmosis (RO): Reverse osmosis is a commonly used water treatment technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove dissolved solids, including salts, minerals, and other contaminants, from water. Water is forced through the membrane under pressure, leaving behind the dissolved solids, which are then flushed out as wastewater. RO is effective in reducing TDS levels and producing high-quality drinking water.
- Distillation: Distillation is a process that involves boiling water and then condensing it into purified water. As the water is boiled, the dissolved solids are left behind, and the resulting steam is collected and condensed into purified water, which typically has low TDS levels. Distillation is effective in reducing TDS levels and producing high-purity water, but it can be energy-intensive.
- Ion Exchange: This process uses resin beads to remove dissolved ions from water. The resin beads exchange ions with the dissolved solids, effectively removing them from the water. Ion exchange is commonly used to reduce specific ions, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium, which contribute to TDS in water.
- Electrodialysis (ED): Electrodialysis is a membrane-based process that uses an electric field to separate dissolved ions from water. Water passes through selective membranes, allowing only certain ions to pass through, while the others are removed as concentrate. ED is effective in reducing TDS levels and is commonly used in industrial applications.
- Filtration: Filtration using various types of filters, such as activated carbon, sediment filters, and multimedia filters, can help reduce TDS levels by physically removing particulate matter and some dissolved solids from water. Filtration methods are often used as pre-treatment steps in combination with other technologies like RO or distillation for optimal TDS reduction.
- Dilution: Dilution involves mixing water with lower TDS water sources, such as rainwater or distilled water, to lower the overall TDS concentration. This method is often used in specific applications where small-scale TDS reduction is required, such as in aquariums or hydroponic systems.
TDS in drinking water is an important parameter. It should be in the recommended range for good health. High or low TDS levels are equally harmful, and thus, having basic knowledge about this measurement can help you make smart choices.
At Booster Water, we follow strict protocols to ensure that the TDS of alkaline water is well within the healthy range. Please visit our website for more details.
1. What is the best TDS level for drinking water?
The best TDS level for drinking water is generally considered to be below 500 mg/L (or ppm), as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
2. Is low TDS water harmful?
Low TDS water is not inherently harmful as it can still provide essential minerals, but extremely low TDS water may lack essential minerals and may not be suitable for long-term consumption.
3. Is alkaline water low TDS?
Alkaline water can have varying TDS levels depending on the specific source and treatment method used. It is not necessarily synonymous with low TDS water.
4. What is the use of TDS in water?
TDS in water is used as a measure of the total concentration of dissolved solids, including minerals, salts, and other contaminants. It can indicate water quality, help in water treatment processes, and inform consumer choices.
5. What is the ideal TDS for alkaline water?
There is no specific ideal TDS level for alkaline water, as it can vary depending on personal preferences and health conditions. However, alkaline water is generally considered to have a TDS level between 100-200 mg/L for optimal taste and health benefits.