What Is The Difference Between Total Solids And Total Suspended Solids?

TS and TSS are used to measure the amount of organic and inorganic material present in a liquid or solid sample, but they carry different implications for water quality. While TS indicates the number of dissolved solids and particulates, TSS explicitly measures the number of suspended solids. As such, monitoring TSS can provide a more accurate water quality assessment and help identify any necessary interventions or preventative measures. Monitoring both TS and TSS is essential for ensuring safe and clean water sources. For this reason, they are often monitored together to get the most comprehensive assessment of water quality.

What Are Total Solids (TDS)?

Total solids measure the combined content of all organic and inorganic substances in water or wastewater, such as suspended particulates, dissolved salts, and biological matter. This measurement is essential for monitoring water quality, as it helps identify potential pollutants that may be present.

What Are Total Suspended Solids (TSS)?

Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are solids in a water sample that a filter can trap. These particles range from 0.001 mm to several millimeters and usually settle over time if left undisturbed. TSS is an essential measure of water quality because it reflects the amount of organic material in the water and indicates the amount of suspended sediment and other contaminants.

What Is The Difference Between Total Solids And Total Suspended Solids?

  • Definition: Total Solids (TS) are the total amount of suspended and dissolved solids in a sample. In contrast, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) measure all the suspended particles visible to the naked eye.
  • Pollutant: Total solids are not considered a pollutant. At the same time, total suspended solids are considered a pollutant.
  • Sources: Sources of total solids are mainly inorganic, such as minerals and particles from erosion processes. Sources of total suspended solids include organic matter, silt, clay, algae, and bacteria suspended in water or wastewater.
  • Unit of measurement: Total solids are measured in ppm, while the total dissolved solids are measured in ppm, mg/L, percentage, etc.

Why Measure Total Suspended Solids?

Total suspended solids (TSS) indicate the number of solids actively suspended in a liquid or wastewater. This is important because these particles can affect water quality, clog pipes and interfere with aquatic life. TSS measurements also help identify pollution sources, such as industrial or agricultural runoff.

Why Measure Total Dissolved Solids?

Total dissolved solids (TDS) are a measure of all the solid particles that are suspended in wastewater and water. This includes both organic and inorganic matter. TDS is important to measure as it affects water’s taste, odor, transparency, and chemical composition. It is also an indicator of water quality and can be used to measure the effectiveness of water treatment processes.


What Are the Effects of High TSS in Water?

The presence of high levels of Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in water can have a negative impact on the quality and usability of the water. High TSS concentrations can reduce water clarity, alter aquatic life habitats and increase filter clogging. This is because particulate matter such as sediment, algae, and other microscopic organisms suspended in the water can absorb and block light, reduce oxygen levels, interfere with food chains, and promote the growth of bacteria. High TSS concentrations are also associated with an unpleasant taste or odor in drinking water.

What is a Total soluble solid?

Total Soluble Solid (TSS) measures the amount of suspended solid particles in a liquid. It’s calculated by measuring the total mass of all remaining solids after a sample has been centrifuged or filtered. A higher TSS indicates more significant levels of suspended particles in the solution.

What is TTS versus SS?

TTS (Total Total Solids) and SS (Total Suspended Solids) are commonly used parameters in water quality testing. TTS measures the total amount of solid material present in a given water sample, regardless of particle size or whether it remains suspended in the liquid or has settled out. This includes both organic and inorganic materials. On the other hand, SS measures the solid material that remains suspended in the water sample and does not account for any settled solids.

How are solids monitored?

Solids in wastewater can be monitored using various methods, including settling tests, filtering, and direct measurement. Settling tests measure the amount of material that will settle out of wastewater over time. Filtering involves passing wastewater through a filter medium to separate solid particles from liquid. Direct measurement is often used to directly measure the total suspended and total dissolved solids in wastewater.

What is considered high TSS in water?

Generally, levels of total suspended solids in water that exceed 100 milligrams per liter (mg/L) are considered high.


Total solids and total suspended solids are essential parameters for assessing water quality. Total solids refer to all the solid material present in a water sample. In contrast, total suspended solids are particles floating or suspended in the sample. Understanding the comparison between these parameters can help inform decisions and management practices related to water quality. Monitoring total solids and total suspended solids can help identify potential pollution sources, which can then be addressed to ensure the health of a water system.

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