Fact Sheet: Turbidity

Brief Overview:
Category: Inorganics
Acceptable Level: Varies according to circumstances
Follow up:
Soil runoff
Short and Long-term Health Effects
Test for Turbidity and disease causing organisms
Disinfection and filtration
Source: Turbidity is a measure of cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration
effectiveness. Since turbidity can interfere with the effectiveness of disinfection, higher turbidity levels are
often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites, and some
Indicators are physical, chemical, or other parameters whose presence at a level outside of specified limits
may reflect a problem in the treatment process or in the integrity of the distribution system.
Public water systems are required to monitor turbidity in order to assess the effectiveness of filtration
Effect: Short-term: If disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites, and
bacteria are present symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches
may occur.
Follow up: Treat and re-test for turbidity and disease causing organisms.
Treatment: Disinfection and filtration
Following installation of this system, the consumer should have the treated water tested for turbidity to verify
turbidity reduction is being achieved and the system is functioning properly.
For more information visit the USEPA web site: