EPA Maximum
Contaminant Level (MCL)
Convential or Direct Filtration 1 NTU (Nephelolometric Turbidity Unit)
Other Methods 5 NTU (Nephelolometric Turbidity Unit)

A turbid river in Indonesia.

Turbidity is the measure of water clarity—the cloudiness of water—caused by suspended solids. The EPA lists these common sources:

  • Soil erosion
  • Waste discharge
  • Urban runoff
  • Eroding stream banks
  • Large numbers of bottom feeders (such as carp), which stir up bottom sediments
  • Excessive algal growth

Health Effects of Water Turbidity

Turbidity itself has no adverse health effects, but can potentially feed and shelter harmful pathogens and interfere with other water treatment methods.

Water Treatment for Turbidity

Treatment for turbidity varies depending on the amount and nature of the particles present. A series of filters may be necessary, beginning with a sediment filter to remove larger particles.

Sources: EPA, Photo: WikiMedia, author: Wagino 20100516

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