The principal characteristics of water are color, odor and taste, turbidity, and temperature. Color in
water comes from colored substances such as vegetable matter, humus and inorganic compounds such as
iron and manganese salts. The color standard is designed to make drinking water more palatable. There
are no set standards for odor and taste as there are no specific tests for these. Most odor and taste in
water comes from algae, dissolved gases, and industrial waste. Turbidity refers to a condition in water
caused by the presence of suspended matter, resulting in a murky or non-clear condition. The turbidity
standard was established to improve efficiency of disinfection. Warm water tastes flat. Cooling water
suppresses odors and makes it more palatable. Temperature also affects the chlorination and
purification of water. Disinfection takes longer when water is cooler.
Types of Water Quality.
There are several types of water qualities. These include physical, chemical, microbiological, and
radiological. Chemical quality of water depends on the chemical substances it contains. These include
TDS, chlorides, sulfates, and other ions. The chemical quality of water involves hardness, alkalinity,
acidity, and corrosiveness. Microbiological quality of water shows its potential for transmitting
waterborne diseases. The microbiological standard was established to ensure infectious microorganisms
would not cause diseases in soldiers. Radiological quality may appear in water supplies as a result of
naturally occurring contamination. Elements may also enter the water from disposal of hospital or
industrial nuclear waste which will cause permanent damage to the environment These are in addition to
the possible use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield.
PART C - TEST RESULTS
You should certify all water tests for accuracy to include the chemical analysis and NBC testing. The
information must be compared to the minimum requirement for raw water and product water in TB
MED 577. The cause must be identified for unsuitable water that exceeds the maximum operating
dosages of purification equipment. All reports must be forwarded to your supervisor and higher
You must enforce safety procedures when subordinates are conducting chemical analysis of water.
Dangerous chemicals are provided in test kits which may result in death, health hazards or injuries such
as severe burns, impaired vision, and internal tissue destruction. These chemicals may be hazardous or
toxic to the environment and special care should be enforced when using the chemicals.
You should compare the information on DA Form 1712-R to the requirements for source water. Do not
consider sites that do not meet the standards. Compare the information from production and distribution
forms to the standards. Certify potability and authorize issue/distribution of water that meets the