Terms and jargon within the water treatment world can get a bit technical (and certainly confusing). However, we’re here to explain some of these terms for you so that you can understand what’s going on in your units a little bit better. In this post, we’ll take a look at some water treatment terms that you might hear often, especially when the water treatment experts here at Hydroserve in Atlanta are talking to you about your machinery.

Water Treatment Terms and What They Mean

White Rust

White rust isn’t the same type of rust we see on cars – that’s rusted iron. White rust is an oxidation process (much like iron oxidation) that occurs on the surface of galvanized objects. These objects are coated with a layer of nearly 100% zinc to protect the interior iron from rusting and corroding. Luckily, white rust (zinc rust) only becomes a problem in low-oxygen environments, since the CO2 is what’s causing the oxidation. You can minimize white rust on your galvanized towers by allowing proper airflow between all surfaces.


This is a dangerous bacteria that, given the chance, loves living in cooling towers. Legionella, a type of pathogenic bacteria that is Gram-negative and rod-shaped, is responsible for a flu-like condition called Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever in humans. Since this infection can be so dangerous to humans, an outbreak here in Atlanta is a serious issue that must be resolved right away.

Scaling / Scale Formation

If you’ve ever taken a look inside your Atlanta home’s warm mist humidifier, you’ve seen scaling. This is the result of hard water being repeatedly evaporated or passed over a surface. The minerals and sediment in hard water eventually build up to form calcified or metallic scales on a surface. Scaling is difficult to remove; it’s much easier to prevent it in the first place.


Corrosion occurs inside pipes where water flows regularly. This type of problem usually starts with pitting, a result of tiny oxygen bubbles boring into the interior of your water pipes. Corrosion can also be caused by low pH in the water (acidity) that eats away at the inside of the pipes. Water acidity is usually caused by excess carbon dioxide or chemicals in the supply water.


Many Atlanta boiler owners think that because condensation is happening, they don’t have to treat that condensate that pools and gets reused. This is actually incredibly inaccurate. The condensate that is formed during this distillation-like process in your boiler can become contaminated, just like any other water in your system. Condensate treatment is just as important as supply water treatment.


This term is usually used to quantify how much power a motor vehicle engine has; however, we can use this term for boilers, too. In fact, steam engines were the first engines to use this term, so it seems fitting! Horse power, in the case of boilers, refers to how well a unit can evaporate 34 pounds of water in an hour. Higher horsepower, then, means the unit is more powerful.

Water Treatment Terms Pertaining to Water Samples

Alkalinity / Acidity

As the term suggests, alkalinity is a measurement of how high the water sample’s pH value is. Likewise, acidity is a measurement of how low the water sample’s pH value is. Keep in mind that a pH of 7 is neutral, while lower numbers are more acidic and higher numbers are more alkaline. A pH test can tell you a lot about how your system is functioning.


This is a measure of how well a sample of water can transmit light. This measurement is dependent upon the dissolved particles and minerals in the sample. The water sample’s color can influence its turbidity. Generally speaking, you want clear, low turbidity water for any system within your Atlanta business.


Clarity is much like turbidity, except the measurement for clarity is how well light can pass through the sample. This can yield different results than a turbidity test, depending on what lives in the water sample.


Pure water does not conduct electricity; however, water with dissolved minerals and ions can. A conductivity test submits a water sample to a flow of electricity. If the electrical current is able to flow from one plate to another, the sample is said to have conductivity. The more readily the sample is able to transmit electricity, the higher conductivity it has.

Water Treatment Experts in Atlanta

If you’re looking for someone to service, refurbish, or replace your water treatment units, boilers, or cooling towers, the team at Hydroserve is here to help. We also offer laboratory services that can examine your water samples. Get in touch with us today with your questions!