TDS Level in Water

A water molecule when in its purest form or say original state contains 2-atoms of oxygen and 1-atom of hydrogen. But this state does not remain the same before reaching the rivers, borewell, or taps. It being a universal solvent absorbs and dissolves various molecules in the way from a lot of substance. This dissolvement of molecules in a particular volume is known as the TDS level of water.

TDS, also known as totally dissolved solids, are the organic and inorganic materials like metals, mercury, lead, ions, and minerals that get absorbed into the water.

The TDS level in water can come from anywhere like:

  • The chemical waste decomposed into rivers.
  • Springwater having minerals.
  • Chemical and fertilizers used in agricultural land.
  • Chemicals used in the sewer system.
  • Runoff from road salts.
  • Organic and inorganic salts dissolved into water.
  • Human-made pollution in water reservoirs.

It seems to be a long list. But these are some common ways that develop the TDS level in water, and there could be more such ways.

One positive aspect is that we humans need the right amount of salts and minerals for our overall growth. But only a specific portion stands enough for us, and excess can equally harm us as well. The TDS level in water contains some heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and even mercury, which is more dangerous than it sounds. These contaminants require elimination before we use that water for drinking or cooking purposes.

How much TDS level in Water is acceptable for human consumption?

TDS for human consumption is only acceptable at a certain level. The TDS level of water is measure in milligrams per unit volume of water, i.e., “mg/L.” It is also referred to as “parts per million.” The maximum concentration level for human consumption set by EPA (Environmental protection agency) is “500 mg/L”. Also, the BIS (Bureau of Indian standards) set 500 mg/L as an acceptable unit. And when the TDS proportion exceeds 500 ppm, it becomes hazardous for the health. Here is when you require a water purifier to remove all the exceeding TDS levels in the water.

In nations like India, water impurity is what we are dealing with more than decades now. The leading cause of this rising water impurity is human-generated water pollution. The increasing TDS level in water may cause gastrointestinal irritation and decrease the taste of water to a dangerous level.

Moreover, the acceptable TDS limit only applies to regular freshwater. However, if it contains impurities like fluoride, arsenic, and mercury, then the different BIS standards are applicable.

TDS acceptability level in the form of a table

This table here shows the water’s palatability level, which is different from the acceptable TDS level in Water. We would look at them deeply through a separate table later in this article.

Palatability quotientTDS level in water (mg/L)

Considered excellent for human consumption

Below 300 mg/L

Considered good and acceptable

300 to 500 mg/L

Fair or average

Above 500 to 900 mg/L

Poor palatability

900 to 1200 mg/L

Unacceptable and hazardous

More than 1200 mg/L

The palatability quotient means the pleasing palate or taste provided by food or fluids that are acceptable to human feeling or mind.

The guidelines from WHO consider 300mg/l (TDS level of water) as excellent for human consumption.

This table above was shown to convey the palatability quotient in various TDS levels of water. We will discuss the acceptance of the TDS level in water below the explanation for each of them.

Acceptance and Non-acceptance (with reasons)TDS level in water (mg/L)

Highly Unacceptable. Such low TDS does not contain requisite minerals.

Below 50

Partially acceptable. However, TDS ranging between 80-150 is preferable.

50-150

Acceptable. It is considered the healthiest for cardiovascular health.

150-250

Acceptable. It is considered preferable for drinking and cooking.

250-350

Acceptable. Below 500ppm is marked OK by WHO and BIS.

350-500

Unacceptable. One must use a RO purifier with TDS controller and bring this TDS level below 500 before consuming.

500-1200

Unacceptable and unfit for use. An advanced water purification system can only work well for this.

1200 and above

Highly unacceptable and hazardous. No home water purification system can reduce such high TDS level in Water.

Above 2000

From the table above, it is evident that for the TDS level higher than 500mg/L, a water purifier with advanced technologies like RO, UV, UF, etc. is useful. You can look for some of them in our list of 10 Best water purifiers in India. Once after going through that article, you will be able to make an intelligent choice.

How to measure the TDS level in water?

There are various methods through which you can measure the TDS level in water. Below we have mentioned the one you can perform with the TDS meter.

Process of using a Digital TDS/PPM meter

Using a digital TDS/PPM meter, one can test the quality and performance of water filter and water hardness. You can quickly get a Digital TDS/PPM meter from Amazon.in.

For measuring the temperature of water:

  • Firstly, switch on the TDS meter, press the temperature button once, and then again to return to the TDS mode.  

For measuring the TDS level in water:

  • Remove the protective cap and turn on the TDS meter.
  • Immerse the meter for up to 2 inches into the water and stir it gently.
  • Wait for approx. 10 seconds and let the reading stabilize.
  • Press the hold button and view the reading.
  • The meter will display a number with an “x10’ symbol. You would require to multiple the reading with 10.

Make sure not to dip above 2 inches as TDS meters are not waterproof above that level. Also, replace the cap for every use.

The total dissolved solids concentration or TDS level in water does not mean that it is hazardous to health. Only below and above a certain proportion is unsuitable for human consumption, which can also be controlled to some extent.

A primary recommendation is to periodically check the TDS level in their tap water and use a water purification system if required.

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