Standard Active Last Updated: Jul 12, 2023 Track Document
ASTM D7937-15(2023)

Standard Test Method for In-situ Determination of Turbidity Above 1 Turbidity Unit (TU) in Surface Water

Standard Test Method for In-situ Determination of Turbidity Above 1 Turbidity Unit (TU) in Surface Water D7937-15R23 ASTM|D7937-15R23|en-US Standard Test Method for In-situ Determination of Turbidity Above 1 Turbidity Unit (TU) in Surface Water Standard new BOS Vol. 11.01 Committee D19
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Significance and Use

5.1 Turbidity is monitored to help control processes, monitor the health and biology of aquatic environments and to determine the impact of environmental events such as storms, floods, runoff, etc. Turbidity is undesirable in drinking water, plant-effluent waters, water for food and beverage production, and for a large number of other water-dependent manufacturing processes. Turbidity is often reduced by coagulation, sedimentation and water filtration. The measurement of turbidity may indicate the presence of particle-bound contaminants and is vital for monitoring the completion of a particle-waste settling process. Significant uses of turbidity measurements include:

5.1.1 Compliance with permits, water-quality guidelines, and regulations;

5.1.2 Determination of transport and fate of particles and associated contaminants in aquatic systems;

5.1.3 Conservation, protection and restoration of surface waters;

5.1.4 Measure performance of water and land-use management;

5.1.5 Monitor waterside construction, mining, and dredging operations;

5.1.6 Characterization of wastewater and energy-production effluents;

5.1.7 Tracking water-well completion including development and use; and

5.1.8 As a surrogate for other constituents in water including sediment and sediment-associated constituents.

5.2 The calibration range of a turbidimeter shall exceed the expected range of TU values for an application but shall not exceed the measurement range specified by the manufacturer.

5.3 Designs described in this standard detect and respond to a combination of relative absorption, intensity of light scattering, and transmittance. However, they do not measure these absolute physical units as defined in 3.2.15 and 3.2.19.

5.4 Several different turbidimeter designs may be used for this test method and one design may be better suited for a specific type of sample or monitoring application than another. The selection flowchart in Annex A1 provides guidance for the selection of an appropriate turbidimeter design for a specific application.

5.5 Report turbidity in units that reflect the design of the turbidimeter used as recommended in 4.3. See Table 1 and Section 7 for a discussion of the design criteria and derivation of reporting units.

5.6 Table 1 and Section 7 lists the turbidimeter designs currently used for in-situ measurements. Future revisions of the method may include additional designs.


1.1 This test method covers the in-situ field measurements of turbidity in surface water. The measurement range is greater than 1 TU and the lesser of 10 000 TU or the maximum measurable TU value specified by the turbidimeter manufacturer.

1.1.1 Precision data was conducted on both real world and surrogate turbidity samples up to about 1000 TU. Many of the technologies listed in this test method are capable of measuring above that provided in the precision section (see Section 16).

1.2 “In-situ measurement” refers in this test method to applications where the turbidimeter sensor is placed directly in the surface water in the field and does not require transport of a sample to or from the sensor. Surface water refers to springs, lakes, reservoirs, settling ponds, streams and rivers, estuaries, and the ocean.

1.3 Many of the turbidity units and instrument designs covered in this test method are numerically equivalent in calibration when a common calibration standard is applied across those designs listed in Table 1. Measurement of a common calibration standard of a defined value will also produce equivalent results across these technologies. This test method prescribes the assignment of a determined turbidity values to the technology used to determine those values. Numerical equivalence to turbidity standards is observed between different technologies but is not expected across a common sample. Improved traceability beyond the scope of this test method may be practiced and would include the listing of the make and model number of the instrument used to determine the turbidity values.

1.4 In this test method, calibration standards are often defined in NTU values, but the other assigned turbidity units, such as those in Table 1 are equivalent. For example, a 1 NTU formazin standard is also a 1 FNU, a 1 FAU, a 1 BU, and so forth.

1.5 This test method was tested on different natural waters and with standards that served as surrogates for samples. It is recommended to validate the method response for waters of untested matrices.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D19.07
Pages: 19
DOI: 10.1520/D7937-15R23
ICS Code: 13.060.60