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Absolute Filtration Rating

Absolute filtration rating refers to the largest particle size that can pass through a specified filtration unit. See also Nominal Filtration Rating.


Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. Activated carbon filtration is the most commonly used technology based on the adsorption of contaminants to the surface of the molecule.

Advanced Metering Area (AMA)

A geographical area defined by the use and integration of smart metering, communication network and data management systems that enable communication between a utility and a customer.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) enable communication between utility and endpoint metering hardware with minimal human intervention. AMI systems are comprised of smart water meters, fixed communications networks, and data management software programs.

Advanced Meter Reading (AMR)

Advanced Meter Reading (AMR) systems are engineered to automatically capture usage, status, and diagnostic data from water meters and transmit the information to a central database for analysis, system troubleshooting, customer billing, and other applications. These systems incorporate handheld, fixed, mobile, or satellite devices that have the ability to communicate collected data via wired or wireless telecommunication, transmission power line, or radio frequency technologies to utility providers.

Aerate / Aeration / Aerification

The process of increasing oxygen saturation by introducing air. Aeration treatment is used in drinking water treatment to remove dissolved gases such as radon and carbon dioxide; in wastewater treatment it is used in the activated sludge process during secondary treatment.

Affiliate / Industry Affiliate

An industry affiliate is an association or water “cluster” which may provide a range of supports, services and benefits to member individuals or entities within an industry. An affiliate is typically a non-profit or non-governmental organization (NGO), and may represent a focus on a specific topic area or discipline within the industry and/or a particular geographic region. See also Water Cluster (Economic Development).


Negatively charged ion in an electrolyte. This property of anions aid water treatment processes - anoinic polymers are used in clarification process, the ion exchange resins in deionization.


Anti corrosives are corrosion inhibiting chemicals. Anticorrosives form a protective coating on the metallic surface by reacting with the metal or adsorbing the metal. They are used in boilers and water distribution systems. There are 5 groups of corrosion inhibitors - passivity inhibitors, cathodic inhibitors, organic inhibitors, precipitation inducing inhibitors, and volatile corrosion inhibitors.


Anti scalants are chemicals that inhibit the formation of scales in boiler, plumbing and RO membrane systems. See also Scaling.


Aquaculture is breeding, rearing and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals in fresh or marine waters under controlled conditions. Aquaculture encompasses the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae, and other aquatic organisms.

Aquatic Feedstocks

Feedstocks are raw materials used as principal input for an industrial process. Aquatic plants like algae are used as feedstock for biofuel production.


A man-made channel created for the passage of water or water-based transport from one place to another.

Asset Tracking

Tracking the physical location of an asset, whether by manual tag, bar code, or passive signal

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is an organization which defines the water-quality pre-treatment standard for water used in dialysis / hemodialysis.

Automation Panel

Automated control of complex procedures, with or without user interface. Actuators, PLCs, RTUs, and other programmable devices, are often integrated into smart water networks to enable the automation of equipment and processes in a wide range of water and wastewater applications.

American Water Works Association (AWWA) Standards

American Water Works Association (AWWA) publishes over 170 Standards that provide valuable information on design, installation, disinfection, performance and manufacturing of products including pipe, chemicals, storage tanks, valves, meters and other appurtenances; industry-recognized consensus prerequisites; and practices for water utility management and operations.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a measure of amount of dissolved oxygen that is used by microorganisms when decomposing organic matter in water. It is used to gauge the effectiveness of water treatment processes.


The process of reversing the flow of fluids in filtration systems in water treatment plants. Backwashing is a form of preventative maintenance and aids in filter media recovery.

Backwash Filters

Backwash Filters systems remove soluble inorganic contaminants and sediment from filter systems and extend its usable life. At periodic intervals the flow of water is reversed and accelerated to release sediment that has been captured during normal operation

Bag Filter

A bag filter is a disposable sediment filter that uses a barrier or sift method for removing particulates from water or other liquids. They are frequently used for dust removal in industrial applications.

Bed Load

Sediment particles that are moved or transported by skipping, rolling or sliding along a stream or riverbed.

Beta Ratio

The Beta Ratio is a measure of filter efficiency. It is the ratio of number of particles entering and exiting the filtration unit of a particular pore size. Filters with higher Beta Ratio retain more particles and are more efficient. See also Absolute Filtration Rate, Nominal Filtration Rate and Pore Size Ratings.


A substance or microorganism that destroys or inhibits growth of another harmful organism. Disinfectants are the commonly used biocides in water treatment.


A bioreactor is a closed system that supports the biological processes under controlled conditions. Activated Sludge Bioreactors are widely used in waste water treatment.

Bore / Boring / Borehole

A borehole is a hole made or drilled deep into the ground in order to access water or other underground fluid, gas or material. To bore, or the action of boring, is to drill or create such a hole so as to establish access, e.g through a well.


Offshore structures or barriers that are built to protect a coast or harbor from the activity of waves.


Water saturated with salt (usually sodium chloride)


An upright wall that separates water and land along a channel; a vertical wall that separates parts of a ship.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) is the measure of oxygen required for decomposition of organic matter and oxidation of inorganic chemicals such as ammonia and nitrite. COD is used to quantify the oxidizable pollutants found in surface water and wastewater.

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge filters disposable are easily replaceable sediment filters that use barrier or sift method for removing particulates from water or other liquid. Cartridge filters tend to be made of fabric or polymers, and usually housed in some type of pressure vessel. Cartridge filters are designed to filter particles between 0.1 up to 500 microns.


A cation is a positively charged ion. The property of cations is used in cation exchange processes such as water softening and removal of contaminants such as nitrate, fluoride, sulfate and arsenic.

Centrifugal Pumps

Pumps that aid in the transport of fluids by converting rotational energy to hydrodynamic energy. Centrifugal pumps provide very high flow rates.

Ceramic Filtration

Filters that utilize the small pore size of ceramic to remove contaminants from a water supply. Ceramic filters are primarily designed for removal of bacteria and protozoa.

Chemical Treatment

Application of chemicals to water to improve its quality and make it suitable for intended use. Chemical treatment of water aids in the removal of contaminants and pathogens.


Clarifiers are sedimentation tanks enhanced with mechanical processes that is used to separate solids from liquids.

Clean Water Act (CWA)

The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law that frames a range of standards and regulations within the United States for the governing, management, prevention and reversal of water pollution.

Clean-In-Place (CIP)

Cleaning of processing equipment “in-place” without removing the equipment from its processing arrangement. Introduction of cleaning chemistries to eliminate accumulated waste products or residual materials.

Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI)

The CLSI is an institution which provides voluntary standards for the preparation and testing of water within the clinical laboratory.

Cloud Seeding

The dispersal of crystals or particles into clouds to cause the release of precipitation (e.g. rain or snow).


A process of thickening suspended solids in a solutions to the point that their weight causes them to drop to the bottom of the solution


A coating is a thin layer of a substance which is applied to “permanently” cover the surface of a material. Coatings may be used to protect a surface from such things as corrosion or scaling, as well as to prevent the leaking of fluids through a material.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)

Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO, refers to the discharge from a sewer system that has been designed to capture sewer as well as snow melt or stormwater. CSO discharge may be deposited to nearby waterways and contain untreated discharge if the combined capture of sewer and snow/stormwater exceeds the capacity of the system.


Change in phase of a molecule from gas to liquid


A measure of the dissolved mineral content in a solution. Achieved by measuring how well electricity is conducted through the solution. The mineral content is the conducting media for the electricity.

Control Application

A mechanical or software application for process control. Controls, which include actuators, PLCs, RTUs, and other programmable devices, are often integrated into smart water networks to enable the automation of equipment and processes. These devices are can be utilized in conjunction with pumps, valves, gates, gauges, meters, AMR and AMI systems, SCADA instrumentation, associated software, and other network components to remotely manage, regulate, and customize equipment performance, instrument calibration, temperature and pressure fluctuations, water flow rates, water and wastewater treatment procedures, and the distribution and delivery of water.

Control Solution

A standard or control solution is a test solution used for the assessment of the performance of an analytical procedure.

Control System

Devices or software that directs or controls other devices or systems. Based on the technology used for control processes water automation and instrumentation market is further segmented as distribution control system (DCS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic controller (PLC), identity and access management (IAM) and others.

Controls & Instrumentation

Instrumentation refers to the use of measures and components to monitor the status or condition of a fluid, material or system. Instrumentation works in conjunction with controls, to provide the ability to manage or change the conditions of whatever the instrumentation may be measuring or monitoring, such as water volume, level or pressure.

Cooling Towers

A structure designed to remove as much heat from water as possible per unit of space occupied by the structure. Common applications include cooling the circulating water used in oil refineries, petrochemical and other chemical plants, thermal power stations and HVAC systems for cooling buildings.


Corrosion most commonly refers to the electro chemical reaction of an oxidant (such as oxygen in the air or in water) with different types of metals. Aqueous corrosion leads to failure of critical boiler parts, cooling tower heat exchangers and water distribution systems leading to loss of efficiency. Corrosion is prevented by the use of corrosion inhibiting chemicals. See Anti-corrosives.

Data Acquisition

Data Acquisition (DAQ) is a process of measuring various parameters in real time and converting them into numeric digitized data that can be analyzed by a computer. Data Acquisition systems are used for water quality, water resources, hydrological & meteorological monitoring and response programs.

Data Logger

An electronic device used to record data signals over a period of time using built-in or external sensors. Data loggers are used for hydrographic recording, water quality monitoring, etc.

Data Reporting

Acquisition, logging, conversion and analysis of process data.


The preparation and procedures involved with the removal of equipment or system from service.

Deep Well Injection (Disposal)

Deep Well Injection refers to the process of using a well to inject and dispose of various types of fluid wastes (e.g. water, wastewater, brine or water mixed with chemicals) within rock formations such as limestone or sandstone that are deep underground. Deep Well Injection is a regulated industry in various regions of the world.


Deionization is the process of removing ions from water. Ion exchange resins are used to produce deionized water. See also Electrodeionization and Ion Exchange.

Demineralized Water

Another term for deionized water. Water that has all of the minerals and salts removed, generally by ion exchange.


The process of removing dissolved salts and minerals from water.

Detention Pond

A detention pond is an excavated area to temporarily store and drain excess storm water. Detention ponds /basins are stormwater BMPs for flood control. See also Retention Pond.


Dewatering generally refers to the process(es) involved in the removal of water from sludge. The three common methods of dewatering are - Plate & frame filter press, centrifuge and belt filter press (see also Sludge).

Disc Filter

A disc filter is a type of filter in which a number of discs are stacked on top of one another to trap impurities as water flows through. Disc filters are primarily used in irrigation.


Removal or inactivation of pathogens in water by chemical treatment, uv radiation or ozonization. Chlorination is the most common method of disinfection in public water systems.


Dispersants are substances used to prevent clumping or settling of particles in water or other medium. Dispersants are widely used to dissipate oil spills.

Dissolved Solids

Dissolved solids refers to all minerals, salts, metals, and ions dissolved in water. See Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).


Distillation is the process of purifying water or other liquids by selective boiling and condensation.

Distribution / Distribution System

A distribution system most often refers to the system used to move treated potable water for consumption within a community or region. This distribution system includes the infrastructure of pipes, pumps, valves and related equipment.

Distributor / Regional Distributor

A distributor is a company or agent that acts as a conduit between a manufacturer and a product’s ultimate market and customers. A distributor will generally manage the product inventory for a manager as well as the distribution of the product to various market channels. A regional distributor tends to focus on the market customers within a specific geography.

District Metered Area (DMA)

A specific geographic area of a water distribution network; it is created by closing boundary valves or disconnecting services to manage the water flowing within the system.


Drainage generally refers to removal of surface or sub-surface water from a particular area.


Dredging is process of underwater excavation for the purpose of sediment removal and deepening waterways.

Drinking Water Treatment

The processes involved in the purification of water to make it fit for human consumption. The regulatory standards for drinking water are set by the EPA.

Early Leak Detection

A system of sensors on pipes and other critical water management infrastructure that can detect leaks in order to protect assets and improve efficiency of water management systems.

Ecosystem & Species Restoration

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms which interact with one another. The restoration of an ecosystem or of the species refers to the various processes and interventions enacted to bring the ecosystem or the species back to their original level or state.


Effluent is treated or untreated wastewater discharged into surface water systems.


Electrodeionization is a water purification process that uses ion exchange resins that are continuously regenerated by an electrical current. Electrodeionization is also referred to Continuous Electrodeionization (CEDI) and Continuous Deionization (CDI). See also Deionization and Ion Exchange.


A natural or artificial wall along the sides of a river to prevent flooding.

Entrain / Entrainment

Entrainment is the stranding of aquatic organisms due to open ocean water intakes for processes like cooling and desalination. See also Impingement.

Environmental Remediation

Restoration of environment by reduction or removal of contaminants from water, soil, air.

Erosion & Erosion Control

Erosion refers to the breakdown or weathering away of rock or soil through the action of water, wind or other activities. Erosion control is the practice of preventing and controlling wind and water erosion in agriculture, land development, coastal areas, and river banks.


A coastal body of brackish water where rivers or streams meet the sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between freshwater and marine environments.


Process by which a liquid changes to vapor/gas. Evaporation plays a vital role in the water cycle.

Feasibility Analysis

The feasibility stage of a project is an early stage of a project in which an assessment is made about the complexity and cost of how a project may be implemented. The outcomes of a feasibility analysis will often include the parameters and priorities for how a project should be implemented, which in turn are used in the project’s design and planning phases.

Field Analysis

Field analysis is the action of sampling and analyzing a fluid or substance at or within the environment in which the fluid or substance immediately resides or exists, such as within the natural environment. Field analysis is a process that may be adopted in contrast to or in conjunction with lab analysis.

Filter Beds

A layer of sand or gravel in a tank or reservoir that is used to filter solids from a large volume of water. Sand filters are used for water purification.

Filter Presses

Equipment used in the process of waste water treatment for dewatering sludge.

Filtration-General & Macro

Filtration is the process of removal of suspended solids from water using a porous barrier. Macro filtration is the filtration of particles that are 5 microns or larger.

Filtration-Micro & Ultra

Micro-filtration is the separation of particles in the size range of 0.1 to 10 microns in diameter. This usually includes cellullar debris and larger microbes. Ultra filtration is separation of particles in the size range of 0.1 to 0.001 microns. Micro and ultra filtration is accomplished with the use of membrane materials rather than traditional particle filtration.

Financing / Grants & Financing

Throughout the year, a range of grant and financing opportunities are made available to industry stakeholders around the world. These opportunities may be in the form of grants provided by private foundations, or they may be in the form of loans or other financing instruments made available through federal, state or other public agencies as well as private providers such as banks. These capital resources are often designed to target specific agendas, such as the repair of water infrastructure, the restoration of wetlands, or the research and development of new water-treatment technologies.


A facility or area in which aquatic animals are raised and harvested for commercial purposes. See also Aquaculture.


The term fittings refers to the selection, preparation and use of parts and components that enable various pieces of equipment to fit, join and work together, such as within a distribution system of pipes and valves.


Process of bonding together small light weight contaminant particle into heavier groups that can be clarified or filtered. Flocculation facilitates the removal of suspended solids during water treatment.


A flocculent is a substance or chemical additive which causes particles in water or wastewater to clump together so that they may be more easily caught and removed during filtration.

Flood Control & Response

Flood control and response denotes the incorporation and adoption of various processes and interventions to prevent, manage and reverse the action or damage of excess water in a system or area. Flood control may also refer specifically to the use of open-air ducts or channels that are put in place to capture, redirect or drain storm water along highways.

Flowback Water

Flowback water is a term used within the oil and gas industry to refer to water which has been used for hydraulic fracturing and which has flowed back to the surface during and after the fracturing process. Flowback water is typically comprised of the source water and any additives used for the process, plus any additional hydrocarbons or other components which may have been picked up during or after the hydraulic fracturing process. Flowback may or may not be treated and/or reused for additional fracturing or other purposes.

Geographical Information System (GIS)

Geographical information systems are hardware and software used to capture, store, retrieve, manage, display and analyze all types of geographical data. GIS is a powerful tool in delineating watersheds, analyzing runoffs and other applications in hydrology. Utilities rely on GIS to analyze and monitor water distribution networks and waste water collection systems.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Global Positioning System (GPS) is Space-based radio navigation system that enables specific geographic location of a facility or asset. GPS is used for field data collection / mapping of water, sewer and drainage infrastructure.


Groundwater is water that is present below the earth's surface within the soil or rock formations underground. Ground water is a vital part of the hydrologic cycle, originating when precipitation infiltrates and percolates through the earth's surface.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet based wireless communication service based on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

Groundwater Drilling

Drilling into the earth to access ground water; ground water drilling operations are performed for constructing wells.


A habitat refers to the natural environment in which an organism lives.


A harbor is an area of land near large water bodies characterized by natural or man-made structures that provide anchorage and protect vessels from rough water, wave and tidal activity.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials is any item (biological, chemical, radiological, and/or physical) that has potential to cause harm to humans, animals and the environment.

High purity water

High purity water or ultrapure water is highly treated water to meet stringent specifications for a specific purpose. Ultrpure water is extensively used in semi-conductor, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning, refers to a discipline of mechanical and electrical engineering focused on the balance of energy use and comfort within indoor settings. HVAC systems are often linked, feed to or depend upon proximal water systems.


Study of the behavior of sound in water. Applications of hydroacoustics include study of plankton, fish, vegetation, seabed or substrate classification and bathymetry.


A class of organic compounds (organic meaning the presence of carbon) containing only hydrogen and carbon. Presence of hydrocarbons in water is indicative of water quality.

Impinge / Impingement

Impingement is the trapping of marine aquatic organisms against the intake screens of facilities like desalination plants drawing open sea water. See also Entrainment.

Industrial Wastewater

Industrial wastewater is wastewater generated by manufacturing, commercial business, mining and agricultural activities. Industrial wastewater requires additional treatment processes than domestic wastewater.


Influent refers to the water coming in to a system for use, or body of water that feeds into another body of water, such as a stream flowing into a lake.

Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds are compounds that do not contain carbon atom and are derived from living matter.


Inspection refers to formal examination and evaluation of an area, system or component for flaws or defects.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are non-native species of fauna (animal) or flora (plant) that cause harm to the ecosystem. Examples of invasive species within the water industry include zebra mussels, some species of Hydrilla, Asian carp, Lion fish etc.

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is a water treatment method for removing undesirable contaminants from water and replacing with more desirable ones. Ion exchange is primarily used in water softening, where calcium and magnesium ions are used.


Irrigation refers to the practice of controlled application of water for agricultural and landscaping purposes. Smart irrigation systems are IoT based devices that is capable of automating irrigation.

Lab Testing & Analysis

Lab testing and analysis in the water industry refers to analyses of water across a wide range of parameters for regulatory compliance. Testing is usually done in a controlled laboratory setting.

Laboratory Water

Laboratory Grade Water is water treated to a to meet specific laboratory purposes. The 4 standard grades of water specified by ASTM are: Boiler Feed Water Demineralized Process Water Ultrapure Water for Semi-conductor Industry Hemodialysis Water


A lagoon may refer to an artificial pond or pool used to capture and contain stormwater excesses or to hold wastewater for treatment. In the natural environment, a lagoon refers to a stretch of salt water separated from an ocean or sea by a sandbar or reef.

Level Logger

Level loggers are data loggers that are designed for remote monitoring and recording of water level. Level loggers are used for groundwater monitoring, flood level recording, wave and tidal analysis, inflow and infiltration studies etc.

Lime Softening

Lime Softening a.k.a. Clark's Process is a water treatment method in which raw water is treated with lime (calcium hydroxide) to raise the pH, that aids in precipitating calcium and magnesium ions.


Linings are structural epoxy pipes adhering to the interior of host pipes to protect the surface from corrosion or scaling, as well as to prevent the leaking of fluids through the material. The most common method of pipe lining is the CIPP method.

Liquid-Solids Separation

Treating a mixture by chemical or physical means in order to separate the mixture into its individual components.

Logging System

Recording, collecting, converting, and reporting liquid levels in a storage vessel. This is an essential component of the smart water management system.

Membrane Bioreactors

Membrane Bioreactors (MBR) is a combination of biological treatment process (activated sludge) and membrane filtration processes (micro/ultra filtration) for wastewater treatment.

Membrane Filtration

Separation of dissolved and suspended solids from a solution by means of a small pore membrane, capable of removing solids down to the ionic level

Membrane Technologies

Membrane technology encompasses separation processes utilizing a semi-permeable membrane. This is widely used for water and wastewater treatment purposes.

Metals/Heavy Metals

Metals are class of compounds characterized by high electrical and thermal conductivity. Heavy metals are a subset of metals with atomic number greater than 20. Metal pollution in freshwater system mandates wastewater treatment programs for regulatory compliance.

Metering & Smart Metering

Water metering refers to the process of measuring the quantity of water passing through a particular conduit or outlet. “Smart metering” refers to the use of sensors and/or software to collect information and to enable real-time or near real-time control or decision support based upon the information collected. See also AMI and Smart Water.


Micro-filtration is the separation of particles in the size range of 0.1 to to 10 microns in diameter. Microfiltration aids in separation of sediment, algae, protozoa and bacteria during treatment process.

Mobile Water Treatment

A variety of mobile mounted water treatment equipment in/or on trailers. Options include filtration, softening, demineralization, ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis

Modeling & Projections

Modeling refers to the process of using data or various data points, usually aided by computer software, to assess or predict how a material or system will behave under various conditions. Modeling multiple scenarios and predicting the likely outcomes of these scenarios may be referred to as establishing “projections.”

Monitoring System

A system of devices arrayed to monitor and record information. The SCADA system is used extensively a monitor water transport, distribution and treatment.

Municipal Wastewater

Wastewater collected from residential, commercial and industrial sources within a public service area for treatment. Municipalities use combined sewer and separate sanitary sewer systems to collect waste water.

Municipal Water

A public water supply system includes water treatment facilities, water storage facilities and network of pipes for distribution of water to its customers.


A membrane separation technology focused on removing particles in the molecular size range of 0.01 to .0001 microns

Nexus - Food, Water & Energy

The Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) refers to the inextricable linkage between these critical domain and the integrated approach required to ensure water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production worldwide.

Nexus - Water & Energy

The Water and Energy Nexus refers to the inter-dependencies of water and energy systems: access, treatment and distribution of water to industry and communities depends upon the availability of energy to do it, and in turn the ability to provide energy is often dependent upon access to water.

Nominal Filtration Rating

The nominal filtration rating indicates the filter's ability to prevent the passage of a minimum percentage of solid particles greater than the nominal rating's stated micron size. See also Pore Size Rating and Absolute Filtration Rating.

Non-Point Source Pollution

Non-Point Source Pollution or NPS pollution is pollution caused by rain or snow melt moving over the ground. As the run off moves it carries pollutants natural and man-made pollutants depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.


NPDES stands for “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System,” and refers to a protocol and permitting process related to limits on discharging, monitoring, and reporting requirements for discharging point source pollutants into a Water Body in the United States, in accordance to the United States Clean Water Act. The NPDES Permitting program is managed by the United States Environmental Protective Agency (US EPA). For more information, see: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/

Operator / Operations & Management

In the water industry, operators provide the role of managing the operations of water treatment and/or water distribution systems. Water operators may be from a public agency (e.g. a public municipality), a public or private utility, or a private-sector management company.

Organic Compounds

Organic compounds are a class chemical compounds in which one or more atoms of carbon are covalently linked to atoms of other elements most commonly hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

An Original Equipment Manufacturer or “OEM” is a company which develops and produces products which then comprise – in whole or in part – the supply chain of another company’s products or systems. The customers of OEMs tend to be other companies which purchase the OEM’s parts, products or components in the development or construction of their own products or systems.

Oxidation / Reduction Potential (ORP)

Oxidation / Reduction Potential (ORP) or Redox potential is a measure of tendency of a chemical to acquire electrons and thereby be reduced. ORP is a parameter for measuring water quality.

Osmosis – Normal

The process of flow of solvent from a less concentrated side to a more concentrated one through a semi-permeable membrane, until the solvent reaches equilibrium.

Osmosis – Reverse (RO)

Reverse Osmosis or RO is a water purification technology that is used to remove larger ions and molecules from water. RO is accomplished by pushing the water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane.


The location or conduit where a sewer, river or drain empties into a larger body of water.

Ozone & UV Treatment

Disinfection methods for the treatment of a water. Ozone works by oxidizing bacterial cell wall and UV's mode of action is by destroying the cell's DNA.

Ozone Generators

Equipment that creates ozone (Oȝ).


pH is the measure of hydrogen ion concentration. It is measured in a logarithmic scale to specify the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. pH is one of the parameters to measure water quality.

Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products (PPCPs)

Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are a unique group of emerging contaminants; due to their inherent ability to induce physiological effects in humans at low doses they pose a threat to the aquatic environment.

Phytoremediation & Organic Interventions

The use of plants or plant products to clean up soil, air and water contaminated with hazardous contaminants.

Pipes / Piping

Pipes and piping are tubes which are used to convey water, wastewater or other fluids from one place to another. Depending upon use, these tubes may be manufactured from various materials in a wide range of sizes. Pipes and piping are often equipped with valves and pumps to manage the flow, pressure and level of the fluids they carry, and comprise the primary channel for carrying fluids across a distribution system (see Distribution System).

Planning & Design

The planning and design stages of a project represent the early points in a project, prior to implementation, in which a large project is broken down into its separate components for the identification of project requirements, structure, budget and materials. Planning and design of a project is often informed by a preceding “feasibility analysis” which can help to define the project’s parameters and priorities.

Plumbing (General)

Plumbing refers to the various apparatus that comprising a system used for water supply, wastewater or sanitation, including the system’s pipes, valves, pumps, fittings, tanks or containers or other equipment.

Point of Use (POU) / Point-of-Use

Point of Use (POU) refers to the place or time in which a product or service is used. Within the water industry, POU often refers to the place at which an end-consumer access water, such as at the kitchen faucet.

Pore Size Ratings

Pore size ratings refer to the size of particle (in micrometers / microns) that is retained by a specific filter media to a specific degree of efficiency. See also Absolute Filtration Rating, Nominal Filtration Rating and Beta Ratio.


Potable water is water that is safe to drink.

Pressure Logger

Remote water pressure recording instruments. Water Pressure Data Loggers aid in verifying low water pressure complaints, locating water spikes and provide water distribution system modeling data.

Process Control

Automated or manual control of a defined process. Process control systems are widely used for automation of wastewater treatment processes.

Process Water

Process Water is non-potable water that is used in industrial plants, processes and production facilities.

Produced Water

Produced water is water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. Produced water is usually characterized by high salinity and presence of organic compounds.


Pumps are used to apply pressure on water, wastewater or other liquids within a system to force or change the movement of the fluid(s) within the system.


Removal of chemicals, solids, gases, and other undesirable substances from water.

Purified Water

Purified water refers to water which is cleaned, treated and/or sterilized to a standard for use in pharmaceutical, bottled consumption or clean-room applications (e.g. manufacturing of precision electronics). Processes used to produce purified water may include reverse osmosis, deionization, distillation or other treatment to remove impurities. See also Purification.

Radioactive Contaminants

Radioactive water contaminants are undesirable radioactive substances that are present in the water supply. They are also known as radionuclides; the radiologicals found in water include isotopes of radium, uranium, and radon.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting is capturing, diverting and storing rainwater for later use. Traditionally this involves channeling rainwater from the roof to a collection tank.

Real Time

Information gathered and reported as it occurs rather than in batch mode; acquisition, conversion, and/or reporting of collected data without time delay (batch processing).


Refurbished is a term used to refer to equipment, components or supplies which have been previously used and which have been rebuilt, repaired or rehabilitated to that they may be used again.


Rehabilitation means to restore or rebuild something man-made or naturally occurring, to its previous condition.

Remote Automation

Control and measurement of systems remote from a control room.

Remote Control

Control by radio, infra-red, or wire of a device or process from a remote location, however close in proximity.

Remote Leak Detection

Monitoring of and reporting on leaks in a distribution or storage system.

Remote Monitoring

Relying on a system of sensors and data transmission to monitor key factors of a system, from a remote location.

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing refers to the use of satellite or other above-ground apparatus to detect or track information about a system or area. Examples of remote sensing within the water industry may be include the tracking of moisture levels in drought-stricken areas, or the monitoring of algae levels in various bodies of water.

Remote Tank Monitoring

Monitoring tank levels by means of a system of level and pressure sensors.

Requests / Project-Related Requests (RFPs, Bids, RFQs, Tenders…)

Project-related requests are typically initiated by water-solution “Seekers.” These Seekers are looking for help on a water-related issue, and in so doing, announce a “Request for Qualifications” to learn about the qualifications of various potential service providers (“Solvers”), as well as a “Request (or Invitation) to Bid,” “Request for Proposal” (RFP), “Request for Quote” (RFQ), or “Invitation to Tender” as part of their procurement process in order to review and select the service provider they feel will best fit the project at hand. See also Seeker and Solver.

Research & Development (R&D) / Applied Research

The general goals of “research and development” (R&D) or “applied research” include the study of a topic as framed by a specific agenda to apply the insights gained from the study to the development of new products or processes. Applied research is often pursued within commercial enterprises or by way of public/private partnerships.

Research (Pure / Publication-Focused)

Pure research references the practice of research or study of a topic for the purposes of deepening knowledge within an industry. One objective of this kind of research is to provide insights gained through study to the market by way of industry publications and periodicals.

Retention Pond / Retention Basin

A retention pond or basin is an (often low-lying) area designed to catch and hold water, wastewater or other fluid for an indefinite period of time. A retention pond may be fitted for slow drainage of fluids to another location, or it may be designed for holding until the fluid it contains is specifically transported elsewhere for treatment or disposal. See also Detention Pond.

Reuse & Recycling

Secondary use of a water supply for either a new purpose or, following some remedial treatment, recycling of the water supply back to its original use.

River Basin

An area of land naturally drained by a network of rivers and tributaries.


Runoff refers to the draining away of water or other fluids from a system or area. Within the water industry, the word “runoff” may be used also as a noun to refer to that which has been drained away.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the primary federal law within the United States which governs the management and treatment of water for the use of drinking water to ensure public safety.


Salinity refers to the level of dissolved salt content within a body of water.


Sampling refers to the action of taking a small amount of a substance to benchmark or test its current composition, or to track changes in composition over time.

Sand Filtration

Use of screened sand (for sizing) in the adsorption process

Sanitation / Sanitization

Removal / reduction of microorganisms by mechanical, heat, or chemical means.


Scaling refers to the buildup of particles or salts on a surface, such as the inside of a pipe or the surface of a membrane. Excessive scaling can block or disrupt the flow or filtration of water.

Screen filter

A screen filter is a type of filter which uses a screen apparatus, whether rigid or flexible, to separate sand or other particulates from water. Screen filters are frequently used in irrigation and industrial applications.

Sea Wall / Seawall

A barrier that is erected to protect land areas from the erosion or weathering of waves and tides.

Sediment Control & Management

Sediment refers to material that settles at the bottom of a liquid. Within natural environments, sediment is generally that material comprised of dirt or sand which accumulates within a body of water due to erosion and weather conditions over time. Sediment control and management may involve “erosion control” measures as well as the “dredging” of sediment from bodies of water to prevent any disruption in commerce or transport.


A Seeker is any entity – public, industrial or otherwise – that has accountability for a water issue or challenge. Examples of Seekers might include a city municipality or rural public agency that provides drinking water or sewerage services to residents; an industrial company that uses large volumes of water in its manufacturing processes, or that must comply with stringent water-related regulations; a military or emergency-response initiative that needs to deploy mobile water services; or even a commercial enterprise such as a restaurant or hotel resort that manages its own water system. Some organizations may be Solvers as well as Seekers. See also Solver.


A sensor is an electronic device which detects and/or records the physical properties or conditions surrounding it. Sensors which detect water volume, flow, rate, pressure or levels within a system have been in use within the water industry for many years. The development and use of sensor systems which are able to detect substances, contaminants or overall quality within water or wastewater is an evolving field.

Separator / Separation

A separator, or the act of separation, refers to a process in which water is separated from another substance, such as oil.

Sewer / Sewage Management

Sewage refers to human waste which is carried by water through a water (sewer) system. Sewer or sewage management refers to the processes, system and infrastructure components which carry sewage through a system for treatment.


Removal of separated solids from the surface of a volume of water

Sludge / Sludge Management or Removal

Sludge refers to a wet, viscous substance which is a mixture of solid and liquid components. Sludge may be a waste product or byproduct of e.g. industrial or sewerage filtration processes or dredging. Sludge management or removal may include the further separation of the solid and liquid components of sludge, and/or its removal and disposal (e.g. as hazardous waste) by injection or incineration.

Sluice / Sluiceway

A gate or other device which may manipulated to control the flow of water

Smart Water Networks, Systems & Software

“Smart water” and smart water systems and networks refer to the use of devices within a water or wastewater system to monitor, track, notify, control or change the various conditions within the system according to specifically collected information. Smart water may employ a range of metering or sensor devices to collect information which is managed by software and channeled through a user interface for tracking and decision support. Smart water devices, software, systems and networks represent an emerging and quickly evolving field that is of particular interest for water use and security applications.


The ion exchange of “hardness” minerals (calcium and magnesium). These minerals deposit at low temperatures and cause scaling below the boiling point of water.


A Solver is any entity with products, services or specific expertise around water-related issues, such as consulting/engineering, corrosion, remediation, management, containment, treatment, infrastructure, filtration, controls, monitoring, purification, desalination, reuse, or other interests. Some organizations may be Seekers as well as Solvers. See also Seeker.

Source Water

Source water refers to the source of water used for a purpose – whether lake, river, stream, seawater or groundwater. Source water is most often used to refer to the source of water for drinking water within a community, but may also refer to a water source used for other (e.g. industrial) applications.

Spatial Data

Information that identifies geographic location. Raw data for a Geographic Information System (GIS).


A channel , conduit or containing area for excess water coming off of a dam.

Start-Up & Commissioning

“Start-up” refers to the preparation and series of steps or events required to start individual pieces of equipment or an entire system for the first time. Commissioning essentially refers to the supporting protocol of engineering practices that support start-up, changeover, maintenance and turnover of equipment and systems.

Stormwater Management

Stormwater refers to the excess quantities of water in an area or system which may result from unusual levels of precipitation, melt or runoff. Stormwater is important to many regions as a source for replenishing aquifers or surface bodies of water. Stormwater management refers to the range of man-made products, processes or interventions that may be applied to channel, move or dissipate stormwater to replenish or to prevent flooding within a system or area.

Submersible Pumps

Pumps close coupled to the drive motor, which is hermetically sealed. This pump is submerged in the solution to be pumped

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, and generally refers to an industrial system, usually supported by software, which enables the monitoring and control of a system’s various components. In the water industry, SCADA may be used by a municipality or utility to monitor and control the movement of water or wastewater through a distribution system, to detect leaks, or to adjust water pressure or level.

Surface Water

A water supply that exists on the surface of the earth, exposed to atmosphere.

Suspended Solids Monitoring

Measuring and reporting of suspended solids (not dissolved) in a solution

System Design & Integration

Systems design and integration refers to the process of designing a system and/or integrating new or existing system components with another new or existing system. In the water industry, system design and integration may involve a range of engineering disciplines for the development of a new infrastructure system to manage water or wastewater, or for the expansion or joining of more than one water management system.

System Integration

Bringing together discrete systems by networking, process control, or programming.

System Monitoring

A component subsystem used to control and monitor resources and performance.

Tank Gauge

A device for monitoring tank level, either with level float switches or pressure sensors.

Tanks & Containers

Tanks and containers are man-made vessels of various shapes and sizes which may be used to hold or transport fluids or solids. A tank or container may be designed and manufactured of materials such as metals or polymers so as to specifically prevent a chemical interaction between the vessel and the substance it may contain. Like linings and coatings (which may be applied in conjunction with a tank or container), these vessels are used to prevent the unintended leaking or release of fluids or substances.

Technology Testing, Validation & Certification

The various materials, parts, components, products, processes and technologies that comprise a water-management system may be subject to specific standards. The process of testing ensures that these elements can meet applicable standards; the process of validation ensures that the results of testing can be duplicated and verified; and the process of certification ensures that these results are dependable and repeatable under specific conditions. Applicable validation and certification standards may vary by industry or geography, and validation and/or certification may be required before a material, part, component, product, process or technology can be deployed for use.

Technology Transfer / Tech Transfer

Technology Transfer (or “Tech Transfer” for short) refers to the exchange of knowledge, skills, intellectual property, methods, know-how or product between academic or governmental institutions often in conjunction with private-sector interests for the purpose of introducing and/or commercializing scientific and technological innovations within the marketplace.

Tertiary Water Treatment

Third level of wastewater treatment, primarily for removal of nutrients and for disinfection

Thermal Management & Mitigation

Within the water industry, thermal management and mitigation are activities which refer to the monitoring and control of water temperature. Thermal mitigation may of particular concern for industries such as electric power generation or metals processing in which water may be raised to extremely high temperatures, and the water must be cooled again prior to releasing it back into the natural environment.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total dissolved solids (TDS) is the concentration of cations and anions in water. TDS is expressed in units of milligrams (mg) per unit volume of water (e.g. mg/L). See also Total Suspended Solids (TSS).

Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Monitoring

Measuring and reporting of organic molecules in water. Organic meaning containing carbon.

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Total suspended solids (TSS) is a water-quality related term which refers to the total content of organic and/or inorganic solids that are suspended in water. TSS is expressed in units of milligrams (mg) per unit volume of water (e.g. mg/L). See also Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).

Tuneable Surfaces

The term “tuneable surfaces” refers to the dynamic nature of a material or application of a substance or treatment which enable a surface to behave in different ways depending upon the requirements of a process or surrounding system, such as the need or ability to increase or decrease the friction of a surface as fluid moves against it.

Turbidity Monitoring

A measure of suspended material in water, as determined by how light passes through the water sample


Filtration removal by membrane technology. Removal capability in the macro-molecular range.


Purification of water for industrial purposes. Extends purification to reduction of solids, organics

Ultraviolet (UV) Light / Ultraviolet (UV) Oxidation

Application of either of two wavelengths of ultraviolet light to eliminate the ability of microorganisms to reproduce, effectively eliminating the organisms. Alternatively used to break apart total organic carbons for removal.

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is an organization which defines the standards for purified water for use in pharmaceuticals, including the processes used to remove impurities to produce purified water such as reverse osmosis, deionization and distillation.

Utility Data

A collection of information gathered in the operation of a utility from sensors, meters, sub systems.

UV (Ultraviolet) Water Treatment

Ultraviolet radiation of a water volume or flow. Two different wavelengths can be utilized. One for disinfection of the sample by deconstruction of the bacteria cell structure. The other for deconstructing organic carbon molecules.


A valve is a device used to control the passage of water, wastewater or other fluid through a pipe, duct, tube or other conduit. A valve acts as a door or flap which may open or close – manually or through automation – to control the movement of a fluid.

Wastewater / Waste Water

Wastewater (also spelled “waste water”) refers to any water that has changed in quality due to man-made processes or uses. Categories include gray water (utility water from laundry, cooking, bathing) and black water (water from toilets, human and animal waste). Wastewater from sewer systems may be channeled through a distribution system to return it for water treatment and disinfection; wastewater from industrial processes may be treated on-site of an industrial facility, removed from the facility for disposal such as deep-well injection, and/or be released as an effluent back into a natural environment.

Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP)

Facilities designed for the primary, secondary and tertiary treatment of wastewater, municipal or industrial.

Water Audit

A process by which a quantitative and/or qualitative review of water use is made to determine the existence of leaks, and/or opportunities to reduce, reuse or recycle water resources.

Water Cluster (Chemistry)

In chemistry, a water cluster refers to the assembly of multiple water molecules.

Water Cluster / Water Innovation Cluster (Economic Development)

In civic, regional, community and academic settings, a water cluster or “water innovation cluster” refers to a geography-specific collection of water-focused (commercial, public, non-governmental and/or academic) institutions which may collaborate for the purpose of innovation, adoption, import/export or other economic development-focused activities relating to water challenges, technologies, products or services.

Water Disinfection

Removal or deactivation of all pathogens in a water supply

Water Disinfection By-Products

Some disinfection methods leave residue behind in the water. Others can combine with organic matter to create tri-halomethanes, known carcinogens

Water Filter Media

Sand, carbon, ceramic, particles used in water filtration

Water Filtration

Passing water through a volume of media for the removal of suspended solids

Water Infrastructure

Pumping and piping to distribute water within a system

Water Quality Control

A process defined to monitor, report, and act on information relative to maintaining a prescribed quality of water; may be automated.

Water Sampling

Collecting an aliquot of water for the determination of certain quality parameters

Water Scarcity

Sparse availability of water, insufficient to meet demand

Water Security

Water security refers to the capacity of an entity, community, region or nation to protect its water resources and water-management systems. The ability to ensure water security may be supported through the use of monitoring, detection and safety-related devices, such as “smart water” systems or networks.

Water Treatment Chemicals

Chemicals created for or used naturally for the treatment of a particular water condition

Water Treatment Plants

Facilities designed for the filtration and disinfection of a water supply

Water Treatment Polymers

Chemical formulations to aid in the flocculation, coagulation, and filtration of water contaminants

Water-Energy Nexus

The Water-Energy Nexus refers to the relationship between the total amount of water in all its forms needed to generate energy, and the total amount of energy needed to procure, treat, hold, distribute and manage water.

Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus

The Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus refers to the relationships between water, energy and food being inextricably linked and inter-dependent; that risks on any one of the three components within the nexus also puts the other components at risk.


Waterlines may refer to the pipes, tubes or conduits used to convey water from one place to another. In shipping, the waterline refers to the level of the surrounding water against the hull of a ship.

Watermain / Water Main

A water main is a primary pipe, tube or conduit within a water system off of which additional conduits may be attached to move water from one place to another.


A naturally occurring area or ridge of land which separates the flow of water in a region to different rivers, lakes, basins or seas.

Weirs, Sluices, Flumes, Gates

Mechanical means for separating flows or bodies of water. Generally passive in nature

Well Drilling / Boring

Gaining access to underground aquifers or other deposits by deep drilling or boring into the earth.

Well Maintenance

Maintaining a flow of water into a well by keeping the bore hole clean and the aquifer open. A well is a deep hole created to access water, gas or other material underground, or to for use to dispose of a substance to an underground location. Depending upon use of the well, various structures for stabilizing or ensuring the integrity of the well may be regulated.

Well Rehabilitation

Cleaning, re-opening, or re-drilling of an existing well in order to improve or recreate flow.


A wetland is an area of marshes or swamps. In addition to providing a habitat for a range of flora and fauna, wetlands are believed to help mitigate extreme weather effects along coastlines as well as provide a natural aid in filtration of a range of wastes and toxins.