Broadstairs Weather


















































































































































































































A brief glossary of terms


acid--a substance that has a pH of less than 7, which is neutral. Specifically, an acid has more free hydrogen ions (H+) than hydroxyl ions (OH-).

alkaline--sometimes water or soils contain an amount of alkali (strongly basic) substances sufficient to raise the pH value above 7.0 and be harmful to the growth of crops.

alkalinity--the capacity of water for neutralizing an acid solution.

aqueduct--a pipe, conduit, or channel designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity.

aquifer--a geologic formation (s) that is water bearing. A geological formation or structure that stores and/or transmits water, such as to wells and springs. Use of the term is usually restricted to those water-bearing formations capable of yielding water in sufficient quantity to constitute a usable supply for people's uses.

aquifer (confined)--soil or rock below the land surface that is saturated with water. There are layers of impermeable material both above and below it and it is under pressure so that when the aquifer is penetrated by a well, the water will rise above the top of the aquifer.

aquifer (unconfined)--an aquifer whose upper water surface (water table) is at atmospheric pressure, and thus is able to rise and fall.

artesian water--ground water that is under pressure when tapped by a well and is able to rise above the level at which it is first encountered. It may or may not flow out at ground level. The pressure in such an aquifer commonly is called artesian pressure, and the formation containing artesian water is an artesian aquifer or confined aquifer. 


capillary action--the means by which liquid moves through the porous spaces in a solid, such as soil, plant roots, and the capillary blood vessels in our bodies due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension. Capillary action is essential in carrying substances and nutrients from one place to another in plants and animals.

condensation--the process of water vapor in the air turning into liquid water. Water drops on the outside of a cold glass of water are condensed water. Condensation is the opposite process of evaporation.


desalinization--the removal of salts from saline water to provide freshwater. This method is becoming a more popular way of providing freshwater to populations.

discharge--the volume of water that passes a given location within a given period of time. Usually expressed in litres per second.

drawdown--a lowering of the ground-water surface caused by pumping.


erosion--the process in which a material is worn away by a stream of liquid (water) or air, often due to the presence of abrasive particles in the stream.

evaporation--the process of liquid water becoming water vapor, including vaporization from water surfaces, land surfaces, and snow fields, but not from leaf surfaces.


flood--An overflow of water onto lands that are used or usable by man and not normally covered by water. Floods have two essential characteristics: The inundation of land is temporary; and the land is adjacent to and inundated by overflow from a river, stream, lake, or ocean.

flood plain--a strip of relatively flat and normally dry land alongside a stream, river, or lake that is covered by water during a flood.

flowing well/spring--a well or spring that taps ground water under pressure so that water rises without pumping. If the water rises above the surface, it is known as a flowing well.


ground water--(1) water that flows or seeps downward and saturates soil or rock, supplying springs and wells. The upper surface of the saturate zone is called the water table. (2) Water stored underground in rock crevices and in the pores of geologic materials that make up the Earth's crust.

ground water, confined--ground water under pressure significantly greater than atmospheric, with its upper limit the bottom of a bed with hydraulic conductivity distinctly lower than that of the material in which the confined water occurs.

ground-water recharge--inflow of water to a ground-water reservoir from the surface. Infiltration of precipitation and its movement to the water table is one form of natural recharge. Also, the volume of water added by this process.

ground water, unconfined--water in an aquifer that has a water table that is exposed to the atmosphere.


hardness--a water-quality indication of the concentration of alkaline salts in water, mainly calcium and magnesium. If the water you use is "hard" then more soap, detergent or shampoo is necessary to raise a lather.

hydrologic cycle--the cyclic transfer of water vapor from the Earth's surface via evaporation into the atmosphere, from the atmosphere via precipitation back to earth, and through runoff into streams, rivers, and lakes, and ultimately into the oceans.



impermeable layer--a layer of solid material, such as rock or clay, which does not allow water to pass through.

irrigation--the controlled application of water for agricultural purposes through manmade systems to supply water requirements not satisfied by rainfall.


milligram (mg)--One-thousandth of a gram.

milligrams per liter (mg/l)--a unit of the concentration of a constituent in water or wastewater. It represents 0.001 gram of a constituent in 1 liter of water. It is approximately equal to one part per million (PPM).


nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU)--unit of measure for the turbidity of water. Essentially, a measure of the cloudiness of water as measured by a nephelometer. Turbidity is based on the amount of light that is reflected off particles in the water.


organic matter--plant and animal residues, or substances made by living organisms. All are based upon carbon compounds.

outfall--the place where a sewer, drain, or stream discharges; the outlet or structure through which reclaimed water or treated effluent is finally discharged to a receiving water body.

oxygen demand--the need for molecular oxygen to meet the needs of biological and chemical processes in water. Even though very little oxygen will dissolve in water, it is extremely important in biological and chemical processes.


pH--a measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of water. Water with a pH of 7 is neutral; lower pH levels indicate increasing acidity, while pH levels higher than 7 indicate increasingly basic solutions.

particle size
--the diameter, in millimeters, of suspended sediment or bed material. Particle-size classifications are:
[1] Clay—0.00024-0.004 millimeters (mm);
[2] Silt—0.004-0.062 mm;
[3] Sand—0.062-2.0 mm; and
[4] Gravel—2.0-64.0 mm.

parts per billion--the number of "parts" by weight of a substance per billion parts of water. Used to measure extremely small concentrations.

parts per million--the number of "parts" by weight of a substance per million parts of water. This unit is commonly used to represent pollutant concentrations.

pathogen--a disease-producing agent; usually applied to a living organism. Generally, any viruses, bacteria, or fungi that cause disease.

peak flow--the maximum instantaneous discharge of a pump, stream or river at a given location.

polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)--a group of synthetic, toxic industrial chemical compounds once used in making paint and electrical transformers, which are chemically inert and not biodegradable. PCBs were frequently found in industrial wastes, and subsequently found their way into surface and ground waters. As a result of their persistence, they tend to accumulate in the environment. In terms of streams and rivers, PCBs are drawn to sediment, to which they attach and can remain virtually indefinitely.

potable water--water of a quality suitable for drinking.

precipitation--rain, snow, hail, sleet, dew, and frost.


reservoir--a pond, lake, or basin, either natural or artificial, for the storage, regulation, and control of water.

reverse osmosis--(1) (Desalination) The process of removing salts from water using a membrane. With reverse osmosis, the product water passes through a fine membrane that the salts are unable to pass through, while the salt waste (brine) is removed and disposed. This process differs from electrodialysis, where the salts are extracted from the feedwater by using a membrane with an electrical current to separate the ions. The positive ions go through one membrane, while the negative ions flow through a different membrane, leaving the end product of freshwater. (2) (Water Quality) An advanced method of water or wastewater treatment that relies on a semi-permeable membrane to separate waters from pollutants. An external force is used to reverse the normal osmotic process resulting in the solvent moving from a solution of higher concentration to one of lower concentration.

river A natural stream of water of considerable volume, larger than a brook or creek.

runoff (1) That part of the precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that appears in uncontrolled surface streams, rivers, drains or sewers. Runoff may be classified according to speed of appearance after rainfall or melting snow as direct runoff or base runoff, and according to source as surface runoff, storm interflow, or ground-water runoff. (2) The total discharge described in (1), above, during a specified period of time. (3) Also defined as the depth to which a drainage area would be covered if all of the runoff for a given period of time were uniformly distributed over it.


saline water--water that contains significant amounts of dissolved solids.
Here are example parameters for saline water:
Fresh water - Less than 1,000 parts per million (ppm)
Slightly saline water - From 1,000 ppm to 3,000 ppm
Moderately saline water - From 3,000 ppm to 10,000 ppm
Highly saline water - From 10,000 ppm to 35,000 ppm

sediment--usually applied to material in suspension in water or recently deposited from suspension. In the plural the word is applied to all kinds of deposits from the waters of streams, lakes, or seas.

sedimentary rock--rock formed of sediment, and specifically: (1) sandstone and shale, formed of fragments of other rock transported from their sources and deposited in water; and (2) rocks formed by or from secretions of organisms, such as most limestone. Many sedimentary rocks show distinct layering, which is the result of different types of sediment being deposited in succession.

sedimentation tanks--wastewater tanks in which floating wastes are skimmed off and settled solids are removed for disposal.

seepage--(1) The slow movement of water through small cracks, pores, Interstices, etc., of a material into or out of a body of surface or subsurface water. (2) The loss of water by infiltration into the soil from a canal, ditches, laterals, watercourse, reservoir, storage facilities, or other body of water, or from a field.

solvent--a substance that dissolves other substances, thus forming a solution. Water dissolves more substances than any other, and is known as the "universal solvent".

stream--a general term for a body of flowing water; natural water course containing water at least part of the year. In hydrology, it is generally applied to the water flowing in a natural channel as distinct from a canal.

surface water--water that is on the Earth's surface, such as in a stream, river, lake, or reservoir.

suspended sediment--very fine soil particles that remain in suspension in water for a considerable period of time without contact with the bottom. Such material remains in suspension due to the upward components of turbulence and currents and/or by suspension.

suspended solids--solids that are not in true solution and that can be removed by filtration. Such suspended solids usually contribute directly to turbidity. Defined in waste management, these are small particles of solid pollutants that resist separation by conventional methods.



transpiration--process by which water that is absorbed by plants, usually through the roots, is evaporated into the atmosphere from the plant surface, such as leaf pores.

Tributary--a smaller river or stream that flows into a larger river or stream. Usually, a number of smaller tributaries merge to form a river.

turbidity--the amount of solid particles that are suspended in water and that cause light rays shining through the water to scatter. Thus, turbidity makes the water cloudy or even opaque in extreme cases. Turbidity is measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU).


wastewater--water that has been used in homes, industries, and businesses that is not for reuse unless it is treated.

water cycle the circuit of water movement from the oceans to the atmosphere and to the Earth and return to the atmosphere through various stages or processes such as precipitation, interception, runoff, infiltration, percolation, storage, evaporation, and transportation.

water quality--a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose.

water table--the top of the water surface in the saturated part of an aquifer.

well (water)--an artificial excavation put down by any method for the purposes of withdrawing water from the underground aquifers. A bored, drilled, or driven shaft, or a dug hole whose depth is greater than the largest surface dimension and whose purpose is to reach underground water supplies or oil, or to store or bury fluids below ground.