Glossary Get Your Water Report Absorption The process in which one substance penetrates into the body of another substance, termed the absorbent. An example is the absorption of water into soil. Acid A substance which releases hydrogen ions when dissolved in water. Most acids will dissolve the common metals and will react with a base to form a neutral salt and water. An acid is the opposite of an alkali, has a pH rating lower than 7.0, will turn litmus paper red, and has a sour taste. Acidity The quantitative capacity of a water or water solution to neutralize an alkali or base. It is usually measured by titration with a standard solution of sodium hydroxide, and expressed in ppm or mg/L of its calcium carbonate equivalent. Activated Carbon A water treatment medium brought into existence through the heating of carbonaceous materials. Typically activated carbon is found in a granulated or block form. It eliminates chlorine and reduces organic chemicals. Arsenic Caused by runoff from orchards or glass and electronics production, arsenic can cause skin damage and problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer. Backflow The opposite direction to normal flow. Typically associated with pushing contaminated water into a potable water system. Barium Barium can cause an increase in blood pressure and originates from a discharge of drilling wastes and metal refineries. Chlorine Chlorine is added to water to control microbes and causes eye and nose irritation as well as stomach discomfort. Chlorite A contaminant in water known to cause anemia and have more serious effects on infants and young children. Chlorobenzene A contaminant typically resulting from a discharge from chemical and agricultural chemical factories that causes both liver and kidney damage. Chromium A contaminant resulting from the discharge of steel and pulp mills. Chromium has the potential to cause allergic dermatitis. Copper In terms of water contamination, copper originates from corrosion of household plumbing systems and natural deposits. If can cause gastrointestinal distress in the short term, and liver and/or kidney damage in the long term. Hard Water Resulting from mineral ions, usually calcium and magnesium, hard water has a total hardness of one grain per gallon or more. Though hard water has many benefits to the human body, it causes damage in the form of scale buildup in your pipes. Nitrite Resulting from runoff of fertilizer use, leaking septic tanks, and erosion of natural deposits, nitrites could seriously harm infants under the age of 6 months causing illness and possibly death. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome. Potable Water Water that is safe for drinking/consumption. Trihalomethanes Type of contaminant that may cause liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems and increase the risk of cancer.