What Is PPM in Water Testing? 

Parts per million (ppm) is a measure of the concentration of various substances and toxins in a particular sample. It’s the most common unit of measurement for determining water quality and is used throughout the world to ensure drinking water is safe and free of contaminants. 

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PPM is a measure of a substance’s concentration in a sample, but it’s important to remember that it is not a true measurement of mass or volume. 

One ppm is equal to 0.00001664 grams of the contaminant, or 40 parts of that substance in 1 million milliliters of water. 

Another popular measurement of a contaminant’s concentration is milligrams per liter or mg/L. A liter of water weighs 1 million milligrams, and 1 ppm equals 0.001 grams of the contaminant. 

This is a more accurate measurement of the contaminant’s concentration, and it also allows you to compare the amount of a contaminant in different amounts of water. This is particularly helpful when comparing the concentration of a contaminant in one source of drinking water to the concentration of that same contaminant in a different source of drinking water. 

How Many PPM Do I Need to Test my Water?

It’s a simple process to determine the total dissolved solids (TDS) in your drinking water. The most common way to do this is with an electrical conductivity (EC) or TDS meter. 

The EC is an easy-to-use and inexpensive way to determine your water’s TDS. The more dissolved minerals in the water, the higher its EC. 

However, if you have high levels of contaminants in your water, the EC reading will be inaccurate. This is because the ions will change the electrical conductivity of the water. This will cause the EC reading to fluctuate, which is why an EC meter should be calibrated before each use. 

An EC meter is not sensitive enough to measure the toxicity levels of certain things like pharmaceuticals, gasoline, motor oil, pesticides, and other contaminants that are not charged. 

What Are the Most Common Units of Water Testing?

In addition to ppm, there are other units that are commonly used in water testing. Some of these include parts per trillion (PPT), parts per billion (PPB), and parts per quadrillion (PPQ). 

PPT is an important measure of the low-level toxicity of a contaminant because it is often more representative of how well instrumentation can detect that contaminant at extremely low levels. It can also be used to compare the concentration of a contaminant in different types of water, such as well water and municipal water. 

Other common units of water testing include ug/L, ng/L, and pCi/L. These are commonly used to describe the concentration of radioactive contaminants. 

EPA’s maximum contaminant limit for arsenic is 10 parts per trillion, or ug/L, while lead is regulated at 1 ppb or 0.001 ng/L. 

For more information on these units of water testing, please see the EPA’s website or consult with an EPA-certified drinking water specialist.