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What TDS Means For Your Drinking Water
Woman stirring glass of water tds

What TDS Means For Your Drinking Water


Since the clean water dilemma in Flint, Michigan, many consumers are more concerned than ever about their drinking water. Most water companies will advertise total dissolved solids as dangerous contaminants; however, this is not always the case. TDS, or total dissolved solids, are any organic matter or inorganic salts that have dissolved in a water system. The organic matter dissolved in your water could be a wide range of organic matter, including helpful vitamins. However, dissolved pesticides, herbicides, and other pollutants have the same chance to end up in your drinking water.

Water is known as the universal solvent and can dissolve surrounding impurities with ease. Pure water is odorless, tasteless, and colorless.  Any additives (intentional or not) will change the color, taste, and smell of the water. In most American homes today, the tap water contains varying amounts of dissolved solids and chemical additives and is therefore not considered pure water. While some of the additives may be thought to be helpful at one point, such a fluoride, that is not often the case. Having a professional measure your tap water with a TDS meter will give you the quantitative measure of the total dissolved solids in your water.

Types of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

As aforementioned, there is a wide range of organic materials that could be dissolved into your drinking water. Dissolved organic matter can range from metals and minerals to hydrocarbons and herbicides. In Florida, water from lakes or springs are used often and may contain microorganisms, salts, even phytoplankton, a microscopic marine plant.

TDS may also contain synthetic chemicals. Most commonly, these chemicals are from pharmaceutical drugs, urban or industrial runoff, as well as manufacturing chemicals. All of these chemicals are known to invade and pollute the water supplies, and most water treatment plants are unable to remove them all. It was for this reason that the FDA stopped advising to flush old or unused medicines down the toilet and began campaigns for safe disposal days with local police departments.

Inorganic salts are another type of Total Dissolved Solids. These salts may range from a variety of possibilities:

  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfates
  • Zinc
  • Bicarbonates
  • Potassium

Total Dissolved Solids Sources

The organic and inorganic compounds discussed may all be dissolved through incidental or intentional sources.

Incidental sources are when the water supply comes in contact with dissolved solids in the environment as the water is sourced and journeying to the tap. Most of the organic compounds that become total dissolved solids originate in agricultural run-off, sewage, seawater intrusion, stormwater, or chemicals used in treatment plants. Old lead water pipes can also contribute to high lead counts in water, which was the case in Flint, Michigan. Here in Southwest Florida, spring water is a popular source for drinking water. Mineral springs flow underground through rocks containing high amounts of minerals and compounds such as sulfur, magnesium, zinc, iron, and salts. All these organic compounds have the potential to end up in your drinking water.

Intentional sources occur when dissolved solids are added to the water purposefully. Many water companies sell supplemented water products in stores today. Water bottle companies branded as “mineral water” are commonly adding magnesium and calcium to their product. Other manufacturers add electrolytes to their product; these minerals are not naturally occurring in pure water. These bottled products also contain dissolved solids, as well. Companies have also been known to add fluoride to water systems and water bottles to prevent tooth decay. Should your drinking water contain this dissolved solid, letting your dentist know could be crucial to your dental health. If you receive fluoride treatments at the dentist while also drinking fluoride-fortified water, you could be consuming too much fluoride, which can become dangerous.

Reverse Osmosis is the best choice for clean, safe, pure water. Our reverse osmosis systems will remove 99.9% of all contaminants and dissolved solids in your drinking water. For more information and a free water test, call our office today!

Published: January 29, 2020
Author: Crystal Clear Water
Categories : Water Facts