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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 527; doi:10.3390/ijerph14050527

A New Method for the Fast Analysis of Trihalomethanes in Tap and Recycled Waters Using Headspace Gas Chromatography with Micro-Electron Capture Detection

1
Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS), School of Science, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
2
School of Science, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Warish Ahmed and David J. Beale
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 15 May 2017
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Abstract

Chemical disinfection of water supplies brings significant public health benefits by reducing microbial contamination. The process can however, result in the formation of toxic compounds through interactions between disinfectants and organic material in the source water. These new compounds are termed disinfection by-products (DBPs). The most common are the trihalomethanes (THMs) such as trichloromethane (chloroform), dichlorobromomethane, chlorodibromomethane and tribromomethane (bromoform); these are commonly reported as a single value for total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). Analysis of DBPs is commonly performed via time- and solvent-intensive sample preparation techniques such as liquid–liquid and solid phase extraction. In this study, a method using headspace gas chromatography with micro-electron capture detection was developed and applied for the analysis of THMs in drinking and recycled waters from across Melbourne (Victoria, Australia). The method allowed almost complete removal of the sample preparation step whilst maintaining trace level detection limits (>1 ppb). All drinking water samples had TTHM concentrations below the Australian regulatory limit of 250 µg/L but some were above the U.S. EPA limit of 60 µg/L. The highest TTHM concentration was 67.2 µg/L and lowest 22.9 µg/L. For recycled water, samples taken directly from treatment plants held significantly higher concentrations (153.2 µg/L TTHM) compared to samples from final use locations (4.9–9.3 µg/L). View Full-Text
Keywords: trihalomethanes; disinfection by-products; headspace; gas chromatography; separation science trihalomethanes; disinfection by-products; headspace; gas chromatography; separation science
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Alexandrou, L.D.; Meehan, B.J.; Morrison, P.D.; Jones, O.A.H. A New Method for the Fast Analysis of Trihalomethanes in Tap and Recycled Waters Using Headspace Gas Chromatography with Micro-Electron Capture Detection. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 527.

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