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Organic Sum Parameters

Below the Surface: Measuring Organic Sum Parameters in Water

| Author / Editor: Dr. Dr. rer. nat. Wolfgang Genthe / Dominik Stephan

Comparison of parameters and methods — Non catalytic, high temperature methods not only provide accurate results, they are also safer for operator and environment.
Comparison of parameters and methods — Non catalytic, high temperature methods not only provide accurate results, they are also safer for operator and environment. (Source: LAR Process Analysers)

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Online measuring and monitoring of water quality and purity in rivers, lakes and streams is a centerpiece of environmental protection and water conservation. Especially organic substances threaten the delicate nature of aquatic ecosystems. Due to the diverse contaminants and pollution sources, analysis relies on the measuring of sum parameters. Different approaches feature distinctive characteristics — but what is the best, fastet and most reliable measurement method?

River monitoring is an important early warning system to detect any water pollution due to chemical accidents or other causes. As rivers and lakes are sensitive drinking water resources, this task is of utmost importance. Therefore, water monitoring stations have been established along rivers around the world. Today, there is data available of over 30 years of experience.

It is common knowledge that it is absolutely mandatory to have both the right measurement as well as reliable instruments with low maintenance for this purpose. A suitable measuring method has to guarantee correct data combined with high recovery rates for every thinkable substance. This is especially important as there should be no chemical compound undetected, while the results should be as accurate and reproducible as possible. It is also necessary that the employed monitoring method has a low detection limit to realize even smaller changes on a relatively low concentration level.

If the Analysis Itself Threatens the Environment

Furthermore, the consumption of reagents has to be considered: As monitoring stations are often unattended at remote locations, the necessary maintenance should be as low as possible. Moreover, the employed analytical method itself should not pose the danger of environmental pollution. As most of the risks for operating personal are related to reagents, it is fundamental to choose analytical methods which are safe to work with.

Use of Organic Sum Parameters

Due to the huge number of listed chemicals it is impossible to check for each single substance. Hence, it has become common to use sum parameters to detect any kind of pollution quickly. While this method has the advantage of a fast detection, it must be clear here that it is not possible to get information about what substances are involved.

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