Particulate matter

Particulate matter is material which is non-soluble inorganic or organic impurities that may be exist in a water supply. It can be considered as the residue present on a filter media after water is passed through the filter. These can be related to total suspended solids determined by a Standard Methods No. 2540-D. It is important to mind the fact that total suspended solids should not be correlate with the definition of Total Solids.

Definition of particulate matter in water must reference a size. In general, particles become non-visible when the size is less than 40 µm. For water purification applications, it appears appropriate to define as the no dissolved inorganic and/or organic material that will be removed by a particulate removal filter.

Tyndall Effect for Particulate matter
Tyndall Effect

Particulate removal filters, a properly operating, back-flushable particulate removal filter will remove particles greater than or equal to 10 µm in size. Subsequently, it is appropriate to establish a definition for particulate matter as non-dissolved inorganic or organic material with a size greater than 10 µm.

These material is either dirt; iron oxides or hydroxides; other metallic oxides or hydroxides; tiny organisms such as slime, algae, or iron rich species of bacteria such as Leptothrix and Clonothrix; and dissolved inorganic ions that react with precipitate generation cations and anions (like calcium, magnesium, barium, sulphate and carbonate).

In some cases, it may exist as a very fine material. This is generally true for non-dissolved inorganic compounds. If a sample of water containing fine particle is dispersed into a test tube with a round bottom, a darkened room and flashlight can be used to visualize this particle.

While reference to the total suspended solids measurement is related to the concentration of particulate matter, a review of a raw water analysis, particularly from a municipal supply, may provide an important additional analytical method as the turbidity of particulate matter. Higher total suspended solid concentrations and/or turbidity levels are an indication of high levels of particulate matter in water.

By Krunal

Krunal Bhosale is crazy about new gadgets and try them as soon as they are available in market. You can trust him because he uses those products and write reviews about products. He is a Water and Wastewater treatment expert from Pune, India. He received his Chemical Engineering from University of Pune. You can contact him by email krunal (at)

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