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Glossary of Terms - I

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indicator - A chemical material or solution which can be used to show (usually by a color change or depth of color) the endpoint of a chemical reaction or chemical concentration.

influent - The stream of water to be treated as it flows into any kind of water treatment unit or device, such as the hard water entering an ion exchange water softener.

inorganic matter - Chemical substances which do not arise from the process of living growth, are composed of matter other than plant or animal matter, and don’t contain hydrocarbons or compounds of basically carbon structure. Examples are minerals and metals.

installation - The process in which water conditioning equipment is connected into the water system, and a drain line provided where necessary. The term is also used to refer to the complete assembly of piping, valves, drain line, water conditioning unit and related equipment.

intermittent flow - The interrupted patterns of water usage which occur in the home or commercial businesses - opposed to the steady constant flow patterns common in industry, such as factories. This term may also be used to refer to “on-off” flow patterns of water through treatment units specified in testing standards to simulate customer water use patterns.

ion - An atom or radical (group of atoms such as SO42-) which carries an electrical charge as the result of having lost or gained electrons. Positively- charged ions are called cations; negatively-charged ions are called anions. An ion often has entirely different properties than the element (atom) from which it was formed. (See ionization.)

ion exchange - A reversible chemical process in which ions from an insoluble permanent solid medium (the “ion exchanger” - usually a resin) are exchanged for ions in solution or fluid mixture surrounding the insoluble medium. The direction of the exchange depends upon the selective attraction of the ion exchanger resin for the certain ions present and the concentrations of the ions in the solution.

ion exchanger - A permanent, insoluble material which contains ions that will exchange reversibly with other ions in a surrounding solution. Both cation and anion exchangers are used in water conditioning. (See anion, cation, ion.)

ionization - The process in which atoms gain or lose electrons; sometimes used as synonymous with dissociation, the separation of molecules into charged ions in solution.

iron (Fe) - An element often found in ground water. It is objectionable in water supplies because of the staining caused after oxidation (bleach) and precipitation, tastes.

iron bacteria- Microorganisms which are capable of utilizing ferrous iron, either from the water or from steel pipe, in their metabolism, and precipitating ferric hydroxide in the sheaths and gelatinous deposits. These organisms tend to collect in pipe lines and tanks during periods of low flow, and to break loose in slugs of turbid water to create staining, taste and odor problems. (See Crenothrix polyspora, Gallionella ferruginea.)

iron fouling - The accumulation of iron on or within an ion exchange resin bed or filter medium in such amounts that the capacity of the medium is reduced.

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