examining sample in field


Total Suspended Solids

Total suspended solids (TSS) are particles of various origins, including soil, silt, sand, plankton, plant, bacteria, and debris, that float or drift in the water. Each waterbody has a natural amount of suspended sediment that depends on the surrounding land surface characteristics and their potential for erosion. Excessive amounts of TSS in the water can be caused by a variety of natural phenomena, including erosion, runoff, and wastewater discharge . An excess of suspended solids can create unattractively cloudy or muddy water, and can wreak ecological havoc as the particles prevent sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, clog the gills of fish, and damage shellfish. Moreover, pollutants such as pesticides and petroleum products can bind to the suspended particles and be transported far from their point of origin.

At NJCWST, we are certified by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to accurately determine total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations in surface waters (Standard Method 2540 D-11, Gravimetric).


Turbidity is a measure of how much matter is suspended in water. The suspended materials– including soil particles (clay, silt and sand), phytoplankton, zooplankton– decrease the passage of light through the water. Soil erosion, excessive algae growth, and stormwater runoff can all contribute to high turbidity. In lakes and rivers where there are large populations of bottom dwelling fish such as catfish and carp, the fish can increase water turbidity by stirring up sediments at the bottom. . High levels of suspended materials can clog the gills of fish, and can suffocate their eggs if they settle on the floor of the waterbody; bottom-dwelling insects, worms, snails, and shellfish can also be suffocated.

At NJCWST, we are certified by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to offer measurements to accurately measure turbidity in surface waters (USEPA Method 180.1, Nephelometric)