Primary Anions and Cations in Water

Primary Anions and Cations in Water
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Primary Anions and Cations in Water

A wide range of different elements can become dissolved in water as a result of interactions with the atmosphere, the environment, soil and bedrock. As the water flows it picks up additional minerals and other chemicals on its way to the groundwater or to the river.

Groundwaters tend to have much higher concentrations of most constituents than do surface waters. Deep groundwaters that have been in contact with rock for a long time tend to have higher concentrations than shallow waters.

It is convenient to divide dissolved constituents into major components, the predominant cations and anions, and trace elements.

The major cations present in water are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. The major anions present in water are bicarbonate/carbonate, sulphate and chloride.

Cations are positively-charged ions (atoms or groups of atoms that have more protons than electrons due to having lost one or more electrons).
Anions are negatively-charged ions (meaning they have more electrons than protons due to having gained one or more electrons).

Anions such as the primary nutrients nitrate and phosphate may become dissolved in water from many sources:
Air pollution
Burning fuels
Agricultural
Sewage
Organic matter.

Nitrogen and phosphorus are both essential for aquatic growth covered here…Primary Nutrients and Eutrophication.

Next Topics about specific cations and anions…
Calcium in Water
Magnesium in Water
Iron in Water
Sodium in Water
Potassium in Water
Manganese in Water
Aluminum in Water

Carbonate and Bicarbonate in Water
Sulfate in Water
Chloride in Water
Fluoride in Water

Chemical Water Quality Parameters  <<<...return
Dissolved Gasses in Water
Primary Nutrients in Water and Eutrophication
Toxic Constituents in Water
Pesticides in Water
Oil in Water

Go Back to:
Physical Water Quality
Chemical Water Quality
Biological Water Quality
Water Basics 101

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