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Overseas Assignment 2007: TDS: Total Dissolved Solids in Kabul (Day 15)


One of the key things that we often ignore is the level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in our bottled mineral water and probably this is why sometimes normal boiled drinking water is safer to drink.  Image Source: The Take Out

It is Day 15 in Kabul

I have been learning new things abroad and whilst it is mostly related to my work but there are some that are not. One of them is the quality of water that we drink.

Before this assignment, I had no idea just how bad was the quality of water until a friend of mine explained about it and that included noting down the TDS value of the water. TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solid which means solids that have been dissolved in the water.

From Wikipedia:-

Total dissolved solids is an expression for the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid which are present in a molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol) suspended form.

The principal application of TDS is in the study of water quality for streams, rivers and lakes, although TDS is generally considered not as a primary pollutant (e.g. it is not deemed to be associated with health effects), but it is rather used as an indication of aesthetic characteristics of drinking water and as an aggregate indicator of presence of a broad array of chemical contaminants.

Primary sources for TDS in receiving waters are agricultural runoff, leaching of soil contamination and point source water pollution discharge from industrial or sewage treatment plants.

TDS reading in Kabul is not looking too good…

Image Source: Premier Water Technologies

The higher the TDS reading, the lower the quality of water it will be. For comparison, fresh water from the mountains gives a TDS reading of 0 whilst seawater gives a reading of 2,000.

So how bad was the water that we had been drinking in Sharjah and Kabul? It’s bad!

A friend of mine had mineral water for a drink in Kabul and almost immediately he had stomach ache – after we checked, the TDS reading of the “mineral water” was 600. The tap water in the bathroom shows a TDS reading of 950.

This incident woke me up – I am now wondering about the TDS reading of the water back at home. So, the first thing I am going to do when I get back home is to check and if need to, replace the water filtration system. Having a RO system at home may not be a bad thing after all.

Read more about the TDS chart and its affect on our health here

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