A polymer inclusion membrane (PIM) containing the ionic liquid methyltrioctylammonium chloride (Aliquat 336) as the carrier has been used satisfactorily for the preconcentration of arsenate present in groundwater samples, allowing its determination by a simple colorimetric method. The optimization of different chemical and physical parameters affecting the membrane performance allowed its applicability to be broadened. The transport of As(V) was not affected by the polymer used to make the PIM (cellulose triacetate (CTA) or poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC)) nor the thickness of the membrane. Moreover, the use of a 2 M NaCl solution as a stripping phase was found to allow the effective transport of arsenate despite the presence of other major anions in groundwater. Using the PIM for the analysis of different groundwaters spiked at 100 μg L−1
resulted in recoveries from 79% to 124% after only 5 h of contact time. Finally, the validated PIM-based method was successfully applied to the analysis of waters containing naturally occurring arsenate.
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