Direct injection ion chromatography for the control of chlorinated drinking water: simultaneous estimation of nine haloacetic acids and quantitation of bromate, chlorite and chlorate along with the major inorganic anions

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Most methods for the analysis of haloacetic acids published in recent years are based on ion chromatography with direct injection, employing a gradient elution with potassium hydroxide (KOH). This work reports the exploration of an alternative eluent, a buffer of sodium carbonate/sodium hydrogen carbonate, aimed at the simultaneous analysis of nine haloacetic acids along with bromate, chlorite and chlorate. The alternative of both a less alkaline eluent and a lower temperature of operation may prevent the partial decomposition of some of the haloacetic acids during the analytical process, especially the more vulnerable brominated ones. Gradient elution at temperature of 7 °C yielded the best results, with an acceptable separation of 17 analytes (which includes the major natural inorganic anions) and a good linearity. Precision ranges from 0.3 to 23.4 (% V.C.), and detection limits are within units of μg L−1, except for tribromoacetic acid – somewhat high in comparison with those of the official methods. Nonetheless, with the basic instrumentation setup herein described, this method may be suitable for monitoring when the drinking water treatments are to be optimized. This is especially interesting for small communities or for developing/developed countries in which regulations on disinfection by-products others than trihalomethanes are being addressed.

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