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Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

By HHI Staff

Total dissolved solids are dissolved particles found in water that are small enough to pass through a .45 µm (micron) filter. Dissolved solids often include minerals and salts, such as iron, manganese, zinc, copper, carbonates, phosphates, sulfates, and nitrates.


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While some TDS are benign, a few can cause health complications at higher levels or can piggyback other toxins such as those found in agricultural runoff. Water with a high level of TDS can also cause scaling on pipes, fixtures, and appliances and have a foul taste. Usually a higher ratio of TDS to water equates to poorer tasting water due to high concentrations of metals such as iron and zinc. However, if TDS is too low, water can become bland and corrosive.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests treatment if TDS concentrations exceed 500 parts per million (ppm or milligrams per liter). High levels of TDS are typically treated with water softener devices or reverse osmosis systems.




U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Water System Council

Weiner, Eugene R., Applications of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry: A Practical Guide, Second Edition, 103-104.


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Total Dissolved Solids (TDS):  Created on April 17th, 2013.  Last Modified on April 19th, 2013


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