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Water Monitoring Testing

What is Turbidity?

Turbidity is a measure of the extent to which light is either absorbed or scattered in water. It is a measure of the amount of suspended material in water. Clear water lets light penetrate more deeply into the lake than does murky water. This light allows photosynthesis to occur and oxygen to be produced.

Turbid water can be caused by such matter as clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter and microscopic organisms. Soil erosion, urban runoff, algal blooms and bottom sediment disturbances (caused by such things as boat traffic and abundant bottom feeding fish) can cause turbid water.

Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU's) are the units used to measure Turbidity. Higher readings indicate clearer water. Lower readings indicate turbid or colored water.

Turbidity Test

What You'll Need:

  • Water test container with Secchi disk icon sticker (black and white circle sticker) stuck on the bottom.
  • Sample container with your collected water sample.
  • Protective gloves.
  • Color chart from your test kit.

Turbidity Test Procedure:

  1. Fill the water test container up to the black fill line you'll see on the outside of the container on the label. This is the turbidity line.
  2. Hold the Turbidity Chart on the top edge of the water test container.
  3. Looking down into the jar, compare the appearance of the Secchi disk icon in the container to the chart.
  4. Record the results as Turbidity in JTU on your field data sheet.
Comparing sample in water test container to the Turbidity color chart.
Comparing sample in water test container to the pH Level color chart.

After Testing is Complete »


This full-featured set of instructions took an extremely technical and difficult-to-understand set of instructions and broke them down into layman terms that school teachers were able to understand. As a result two foreign schools in Uzbekistan and Warsaw, Poland were able to participate in the World Water Monitoring Day event. These instructions also served as the replacement for the on-site training that some of the local teachers missed.

If you need help writing or editing instruction content, contact me today. I'm also really good at testing the accuracy of procedures. I will actually go through the process of whatever the instructions cover and ask questions if I come across something unclear or inaccurate. Then, I rewrite what's unclear or inaccurate. I also include applicable computer screen shots for software instructions and other illustrations to help the user better understand the task they are performing.