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Drinking Water Definitions
pH – pH is a scale of measurement that is used to specify the acidity, or the basicity, of an aqueous solution, such as water, on a scale that reads from 0 to 14, where 0 is very acidic and 14 is very basic.
Pure water is neutral, or 7, on the pH scale. However, when chemicals are mixed with water, the mixture can become either acidic or basic. Examples of acidic substances are vinegar and lemon juice. Lye, milk of magnesia, and ammonia are examples of basic substances. The Maximum Contaminant Level, or MCL, for pH falls between 6.5 and 8.5; the drinking water treatment plant, at Riviera Beach, does its best to maintain the pH levels of its drinking water between 8.0 and 8.3.
Alkalinity – Alkalinity is the capacity of water to resist, or neutralize, acidification. At the Riviera Beach Water Treatment Plant, Alkalinity is expressed in units of milligrams per liter of Calcium Carbonate. Therefore, it should not be confused with basicity, which is an absolute measurement on the pH scale.
Although alkalinity is primarily a term used by oceanographers, it is also used by hydrologists to describe temporary hardness. Moreover, measuring alkalinity is important in determining a stream's ability to neutralize acidic pollution from rainfall or wastewater. It is one of the best measures of the sensitivity of the stream to acid inputs. There can be long-term changes in the alkalinity of streams and rivers in response to human disturbances such as acid rain generated by Sodium Oxides, or SOx and Nitrogen Oxides, or NOx, emissions.
Chlorine Residual – is the amount of chlorine that remains in the water after a certain period, or contact time. For example, the higher chlorine residuals will typically be found closest to the drinking water treatment plant, whereas lower chlorine residuals are typically found in the furthest reaches of a distribution system. The Maximum Contaminant Level, or MCL, for chlorine, in drinking water, falls between 0.6mg/l and 4.0mg/l.
Disinfection - Water comes from a variety of sources, such as lakes and wells, which can be contaminated with germs that may make people sick. Germs can also contaminate water as it travels through miles of piping to get to a community. To prevent contamination with germs, water companies add a disinfectant, usually either chlorine or chloramine, that kills disease-causing germs such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia. Currently, the drinking water plant, at Riviera Beach, disinfects its drinking water with chloramines, which is a ratio-proportioned combination of chlorine and ammonia, which provides a longer lasting and further reaching disinfectant.
Hardness - The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium. In layman's terms, you may notice water hardness when your hands still feel slimy after washing with soap and water, or when your drinking glasses at home become less than crystal clear. While there is no contaminant level for hardness, in water, the drinking water treatment plant, at Riviera Beach, strives to keep the level of hardness between 100 - 120 mg/L