Organic matter is a heterogeneous mixture that represents all the molecules found in soils and waters that contain carbon from living organisms. These carbons can come from the decomposition of plants, microorganisms or animals. This means that depending on the type of decomposed matter, the organic matter is found in water changes.
Moreover, consuming water with a high concentration of organic matter can represent risks to human health. This is why standards have been written regarding the presence of this contaminant in drinking water.
- It should be noted that organic matter in water is not only harmful. In fact, they promote the transport of nutrients in water and optimize the supply network in water bodies. In addition, these materials have an impact on the light that penetrates the water, which helps protect certain organisms from the UV radiation that the sun could cause.
Types of organic matter
Referring to their decomposition potential and stage of decomposition, organic materials can be categorized into 3 groups.
Slowly Mineralizable Organic Matter
These types of materials come from the slow decomposition of organic residues. We are talking about a decomposition ranging from a few years to several decades.
Active or Labile Organic Matter
These organic materials come from the decomposition of fresh organic materials. It is generally organic materials with a fast decomposition that belong to this category since we speak about a decomposition time varying between a few days to a few years.
Stable or Passive Organic Material
This type of organic matter is the most tenacious. They attach themselves to the mineral particles of the soil, which allows them to resist decomposition and mineralization longer. Typically, we are talking about a decomposition cycle varying from several decades to hundreds of years.