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How to Make Cloudy or Opaque Water Clear

When water has a cloudy appearance or when the water is opaque, the cause is usually a high concentration of color molecules or a very high concentration of suspended solids that are 5 micron or smaller in size.  How the water is treated so that it becomes clear depends on whether the problem is resulting from color molecules or suspended solids or a combination of both.  Distinguishing these two sources requires laboratory testing.


First, collect a representative sample of the water in a clear glass jar.  Seal the jar tightly and shake it.  Then place it on a flat surface and observe whether any settling occurs and, if so, how long it takes before maximum settling is achieved.  Take digital photos of the various stages of clarification.


Then send a fresh sample to a water laboratory for testing.  Have the laboratory perform the following tests:  TSS (Total Suspended Solids), Color, and Particle Size Distribution.  Have the lab technician pour the entire sample through 5 micron filter paper and repeat the same tests on the filtered water.


The amount of suspended solids and color units in the filtered water indicates how much clarity can be achieved via mechanical filtration alone.


If the filtered water still appears largely unchanged, and if little TSS or color has been removed via filter paper, this is an indication that the substances causing the appearance are present in molecular form and will have to be treated with activated carbon.


If TSS is reduced significantly by filtration, but the TSS before filtration is high and particle sizes are very small, a polymer will need to be added to the water.  It will then need to go through a clarifier before it will be suitable for removal of smaller suspended solids.


In some cases, all of the treatment methods mentioned above will be needed to achieve desired water quality.


If you have water that doesn’t have the clarity you require, contact an Everfilt Applications Engineer and we will

  • coordinate the collection of samples and laboratory testing,
  • interpret laboratory results,
  • design a packaged treatment system
  • prepare a proposal and pricing for your review


Contact us at: everfilt@everfilt.com or (951) 360-8380.


Written by Alfred Martinez

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