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Water Glossary: A B C D E F G H IL M N O PQ R S T UV WZ

parameter

A water quality attribute. For example, the presence of certain bacteria, the hardness, and the level of sodium are all parameters.*

 

pathogen

An infectious agent. An organism capable of causing infection or infectious disease.*

 

perchlorate

A chemical used in manufacturing rocket fuel that has contaminated some California groundwater basins. Perchlorate interferes with the iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. The disruption of thyroid functions leads to changes in metabolism in adults and normal growth and development in children.

 

percolate

To drain or seep through a porous substance

 

perennial yield

Maximum quantity of water that can be annually withdrawn from a groundwater basin over a long period of time (during which water

supply conditions approximate average conditions) without developing an overdraft condition.

 

peroxone

A combination of peroxide and ozone used to kill germs and oxidize taste-and-odor compounds in water.

 

pH

A relative scale of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a material is; the scale goes from 0 to 14; 7 is neutral, acids have pH values less than 7 and bases have pH values higher than 7.

 

pipeline

Carries water above or underground to homes and businesses.

 

potable

Drinkable water. Nonpotable means nondrinkable.

 

protozoan

Single-celled, animal-like, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Protista. Protozoans can occur wherever moisture exists. There are many parasites and commensals of plants and animals, as well as free-living species. They cause a number of diseases, such as African sleeping sickness, malaria, and dysentery. They are an economically and scientifically important group. It is thought that the organisms of the kingdom Animalia evolved from ancestors which were protozoans.

 

pumping lift

Distance water must be lifted in a well from the pumping level to the ground surface.

 

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