Conductivity is a measurement of the ability of an aqueous solution to carry an electrical current. An ion is an atom of an element that has gained or lost an electron which will create a negative or positive state. For example, sodium chloride (table salt) consists of sodium ions (Na+) and chloride ions (Cl-) held together in a crystal. In water it breaks apart into an aqueous solution of sodium and chloride ions. This solution will conduct an electrical current.
There are several factors that determine the degree to which water will carry an electrical current. These include:
Methodology: The specific conductance of a sample is measured by a self-contained conductivity electrode. In this case, the electrode is contained within the College Street storm drain.
Environmental Impact: Conductivity is a measurement used to determine a number of applications related to water quality. These are as follows:
Elevated dissolved solids can cause "mineral tastes" in drinking water. Corrosion or encrustation of metallic surfaces by waters high in dissolved solids causes problems with industrial equipment and boilers as well as domestic plumbing, hot water heaters, toilet flushing mechanisms, faucets, and washing machines and dishwashers.
Indirect effects of excess dissolved solids are primarily the elimination of desirable food plants and habitat-forming plant species. Agricultural uses of water for livestock watering are limited by excessive dissolved solids and high dissolved solids can be a problem in water used for irrigation.
Information provided by Kentucky Water Watch
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