Chemical Characteristics of Water
The chemical characteristics of water are
numerous. Every substance that dissolves in water can be called a
chemical water quality characteristic. This would include gases
(like oxygen and carbon dioxide), salts, substances that stimulate plant
growth (such as nitrates and phosphorus) and other naturally occurring
and man-made substances. Some naturally occurring chemicals such
as iron and manganese which are often present in groundwater, can be
responsible for staining clothes and plumbing fixtures. Other
chemicals, such as Dioxins and Furans are tested in specific sites where
their presence is known to occur. There are hundreds of other
chemicals that might be tested or monitored, but only a few are done
routinely because of the cost and effort involved in such testing.
amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) available in water is a very important
factor in determining the types of organisms that can survive.
Trout, for example, cannot survive if the dissolved oxygen
concentrations are less than 5.5 milligrams/litre. Dissolved
oxygen is one of the most standard water chemistry tests. Other
common tests include determining pH and phosphorous values.
Reprinted from Focus On
Water Quality (1993) with permission of Alberta