The concentrations of suspended particles were measured in the drinking water of two distribution systems, and the nature of these particles documented. The concentrations of particulate matter were invariably found to be small (maximum 350 μg/L). They are globally in the very low range in comparison with dissolved matter concentrations, which are measured in several hundreds of mg/L. Except during special water quality events, such as turnover of the raw water resource, results show that organic matter represents the most important fraction of suspended solids (from 40 to 76%) in treated and distributed water. Examination of the nature of the particles made it possible to develop several hypotheses about the type of particles penetrating Montreal's distribution system during the turnover period (algae skeleton, clays). These particles were found to have been transported throughout the distribution systems quite easily, and this could result in the accumulation of deposits if their surface charge were ever even slightly destabilised, or if the particles were to penetrate the laminar flow areas that are fairly typical of remote locations in distribution systems.

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