Total suspended solids (TSS) gives a measure of the turbidity of the water.
We cannot see pH or other kinds of water qualities, but we can observe TSS
directly. Suspended solids cause the water to be milky or muddy looking due to
the light scattering from very small particles in the water. Sometimes it is
mixed with color, but colored waters can also be clear. Normally, we notice
suspended solids before we notice anything else. Polluted waters are commonly
turbid and improvement is usually marked by greater clarity. Of course, good and
useful waters may be turbid, and many clean rivers are never clear because they
contain fine suspended minerals that never settle.
To determine total suspended solids, weigh a piece of filter paper as
accurately as possible. Filter a one liter sample of water through the weight
filter paper. Allow the filter paper to dry completely. Placing a lamp above the
filter paper may help the drying process, but take care in not getting the
filter paper too hot.
Reweigh the filter paper. The change in weight is the weight of the total
suspended solids. TSS values are commonly expressed in ppm (mg solids per liter
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