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Home>Water University>Water Glossary>Water Glossary: P

Water Glossary: P

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P Alkalinity Phenolphthalein alkalinity of a water as determined by titration with standard acid solution to the phenolphthalein endpoint (pH approx. 8.3). Includes carbonate and hydroxide alkalinity. (See total alkalinity.)
P.E. The abbreviation for "portable exchange".
Particle Size As used in industry standards, the size of a particle suspended in water as determined by its smallest dimension, usually expressed in micrometers.
Parts Per Million (Ppm) A common basis for reporting the results of water and waste water analyses, indicating the number of parts by weight of a dissolved or suspended constituent, per million parts by weight of water or other solvent. In dilute water solutions, one part per million is practically equal to one milligram per liter, which is the preferred unit. 17.12 ppm equals one grain per U.S. gallon.
Pathogen An organism which may cause disease.
Per Capita Per person; generally used in expressions of water use, gallons per capita per day (gpcd).
Percentage Values These are needed to calculate specific resin capacities for this water supply. They are also to calculate DI water quality.
Permanent Hardness Water hardness due to the presence of the chlorides and sulfates of calcium and magnesium, which will not precipitate by boiling. This term is largely replaced by "noncarbonate hardness". (See noncarbonate hardness.)
Permanganate Generally refers to potassium permanganate, a chemical compound used in water treatment. (See potassium permanganate.)
Ph The negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. The pH scale ranges from zero to 14 with 7 as the neutral point, indicating the presence of equal concentrations of free hydrogen and hydroxide ions. pH values below 7.0 indicate acidity, with 0 most acid; pH values above 7 indicate basicity, with 14 most basic, or alkaline.
Phreatophyte A plant which takes its water from the zone of saturation or the capillary fringe of ground water. Excessive growths of phreatophytes are undesirable in some areas since they may consume large quantities of scarce water.
Physical Stability A measure of the ability of an ion exchanger or filter medium to resist breakdown by physical forces such as friction, high temperatures and crushing to which it may be subjected in use.
Pk The reciprocal of the logarithm of the ionization constant of a chemical compound.
Poh The negative logarithm of the hydroxyl ion concentration. The pOH is related to pH by the expression: pH + pOH = 14. (See pH.)
Point-Of-Entry Water Treatment Refers to devices used in the home where water pipes enter to provide additional treatment of drinking water used throughout the home.
Point-Of-Use Water Treatment Refers to devices used in the home or office on a specific tap to provide additional drinking water treatment.
Pollution "Pollution is an impairment of quality such that it interferes with the intended usages." (House Report 2021.)
Population Equivalent A unit of measure used to express the strength of waste water from any source by comparison to the strength and volume of normal household waste water. The figure of 0.17 pound of BOD per capita per day is often used as a base figure for calculations.
Porosity A measure of the volume of internal pores, or voids, in ion exchangers and filter media; sometimes expressed as a ratio to the total volume of the medium. (See void volume.)
Positive Charge The net electrical charge on an electrode or ion in solution due to the removal of electrons. (See electron, cation.)
Postchlorination The application of chlorine to a water following other water treatment processes. (See prechlorination.)
Potable Water Water which is suitable for human consumption.
Potassium Permanganate An oxidizing chemical commonly used in processes for removing iron, hydrogen sulfide and manganese.
Ppm The abbreviation for "parts per million".
Prechlorination The application of chlorine to a water prior to other water treatment processes. (See postchlorination.)
Precipitate To cause a dissolved substance to form a solid particle which can be removed by settling or filtering, such as in the removal of dissolved iron by oxidation, precipitation and filtration. The term is also used to refer to the solid formed, and to the condensation of water in the atmosphere to form rain or snow.
Precoat The application of a granular filter medium, such as diatomaceous earth or powdered activated carbon to a membrane or screen or other filtration surface, prior to the service cycle of a filter.
Pressure Differential A difference or change in pressure detected between two points in a system due to differences in elevation and/or pressure drop due to flow.
Pressure Drop A decrease in water pressure during flow due to internal friction between molecules of water, and external friction due to irregularities or roughness in surfaces past which the water flows.
Primacy State A State that has the responsibility and authority to administer EPA's drinking water regulations within its borders. The State must have rules at least as stringent as EPA's.
Public Notification An advisory that EPA requires a water system to distribute to affected consumers when the system has violated MCLs or other regulations. The notice advises consumers what precautions, if any, they should take to protect their health.
Public Water System (Pws) Any water system which provides water to at least 25 people for at least 60 days annually. There are more than 170,000 PWSs providing water from wells, rivers and other sources to about 250 million Americans. The others drink water from private wells. There are differing standards for PWSs of different sizes and types.