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When viewed by transmitted light through a depth of several feet, pure water exhibits a light blue colour which may be altered by
the presence of organic matter to greenish blue, green, greenish yellow, yellow or brown. Colour is removed to make water suitable
for general and industrial applications. Coloured industrial wastewater may require colour removal before discharge in to

The term ‘colour’ used here is true colour that is the colour of water from which turbidity has been removed. The term ‘apparent
colour’ includes not only colour due to substances in solution but also due to suspended matter. In some highly coloured industrial
wastewaters, colour is contributed principally by colloids or suspended materials. In such cases both true colour and apparent
colour should be determined.

The optimal method for removing turbidity without removing colour has not been found yet. Filtration yields results that are
reproducible from day to day and among laboratories. However, some filtration methods may also remove some true colour.
Results after centrifugation may vary with the sample nature and size and speed of the centrifuge. When sample dilution is
necessary it can alter the measured colour, if large colour bodies are present. While reporting results, the pretreatment adopted need
to be mentioned.

The visual comparison method is applicable to nearly all samples of portable water. Pollution by certain industrial waste may
produce unusual colours that can not be matched. In such cases an instrumental method is useful.

Method - Platinum-Cobalt


Colour is determined by visual comparison of sample with known concentration of coloured solution colour is expressed in terms
of haze standard unit which is defined as the colour produced by 1 mg/l of platinum in the form of chloroplatinic acid in the
presence of 2 mg/l of cobaltous chloride hexahydrate. If it is not possible to match the colour with the standards the yellow
component should be determined by the photoelectric met


1. Turbidity in excess of 5 units may seriously affect the colour of the samples

2. Colour is extremely pH dependent and invariably increases as the pH of the sample increases. (pH should be determined at
the same time as the colour)


Nessler’s tubes matched 50 ml tall form, pH meter, spectrophotometer, filtration system, and vacuum system


1. Stock Standard Colour Solution: - Dissolve 1.246 g. K2PtCl6 (equivalent to 500-mg metallic platinum) and 1.00 g. crystallized
CoCl2.6H2O (equivalent to about 250-mg metallic cobalt). In distilled water that has been filtered to remove any slight
turbidity add 100-ml conc. HCl and dilute with distilled water to 1-liter mark. This stock standard solution has a colour of 500

2. Working Standard Colour Solution: - Prepare standards having colour of 510,15,20,25,30,35,40.45,50,60 and 70 by diluting 0.5,
1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.5, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 ml in nessler tubes.


1. Field Method

1. Since the platinum cobalt standard is not convenient for field, the colour of the sample may be compared with that of glass
disks held at the end of metallic tube containing glass compactor tubes of sample and colourless distilled water.

2. Calibrate every individual disk against standard colour on platinum cobalt scale.

3. Match the colour of the sample with the colour of the disk viewed by looking towards a white surface.

4. The method is recognised as a standard field procedure.