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WTTP 2051: Introduction to Water Chemistry

This course provides the fundamentals of chemistry as it applies to the water industry. The intent is to lay the foundation for operators to understand more advanced theories involving chemical reactions in water. Topics include the theory behind pH, alkalinity and titrations. These topics are supported by concepts such as chemical equations, equilibriums, acid base theory and buffering capacity.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of Introduction of Water Chemistry, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the polar nature of water and its unique properties
  • Describe the cycling of water in the environment and the concept of residence time
  • List the steps in a general analytical method and explain the things that must be considered when choosing an analytical method.
  • Predict whether a reaction is at equilibrium and write the equilibrium constant expressionsManipulate chemical reaction equations and the corresponding equilibrium constant expressions
  • Define Arrenhius and Bronsted-Lowry acids and bases
  • Write acid and base ionization constant reactions and expressions
  • Compare the strength of acids and bases
  • Relate pH, pOH, [H3O+] and [OH-]
  • Discuss the common methods of measuring pH
  • Explain the process of titration
  • Define alkalinity and outline the method for experimental determination
  • Discuss the buffering capacity of water
  • Explain the relationship between water quality and water treatment
  • Write solubility-product expressions

Course topics

Water Chemistry:

  • Polar nature of water
  • Cycling of water and residence time
  • Analytical method
  • Equilibrium constant expressions
  • Chemical reaction equation and
  • Arrenhius and Bronsted-Lowry acids and bases
  • Ionization constant reactions and expressions
  • Acids and bases
  • Measuring pH
  • Filtration
  • Alkalinity
  • Buffering capacity of water
  • Water quality and water treatment
  • Solubility-product expressions

Required text and materials

Students registering for this course will have to source the following textbook on their own:

Note: The textbook below is used in WTTP 2051, WTTP 2061 and WTTP 2071.

Sawyer C., McCarty, P., & Parkin G . Chemistry for Environmental and Engineering Science. 5th Edition. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Type: ISBN-13: 978-0-07-248066-5/ISBN-10: 0-07-248066-1.

Additional requirements

Students require a computer and internet access.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

In order to complete this course successfully, students must obtain at least 50 per cent on the final mandatory examination and in the course overall.

Students taking this course and applying it towards a Certificate I, II, or III or Water Treatment Diploma must obtain a minimum 60% average in the course overall to meet program requirements.

The final assessment will be determined on the following basis.

Final Exam 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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