Glossary | Letter C

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A disinfection method that involves mixing chlorine and ammonia to generate chloramines, which has disinfectant power less than chlorine, but offers better penetration of the biofilm present along water delivery pipes. Chloramination does not produce THMs.


A processing step that consists of adding polymers to water to promote aggregation of suspended particles before the clarification or filtration processes.


Anything that alters the pure state of water.  It can be solid, liquid or gas, a microorganism, a sound, vibration, radiation, odor, or any combination of these that alters in any way the water or environmental quality.


Scientifically, concentrations of a contaminant which, if exceeded, may cause partial or complete loss of the use for which they were defined.  In common terms, the measure, usually a number, of a quality standard, as in “the criterion for chlorine is no more than X ppm liters”.

Continuous disinfection

Ongoing, real-time, constant treatment of water with the purpose of removing or inactivating any undesirable contaminant in the water, such as disease-carrying microorganisms.

Conventional pollutants

In industrialized societies, the usual containments of water are well known and understood. These traditional detractors of water quality are BOD, nitrogen, phosphorus, suspended solids and fecal coliform, a kind of bacteria.

Carcinogen substance

A chemical substance that has been shown to cause an increased incidence of benign or malignant neoplasms (cancers), or that causes a significant decrease in the latency period between exposure and onset of neoplasms.