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This study compared and evaluated seven methods for the analysis of cyanide in reagent water and different contaminated water matrices. The methods compared were weak acid dissociable cyanide (APHA, 1995, 4500-CN-I), free cyanide by microdiffusion (ASTM D4282-95), available cyanide [Federal Register: December 30, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 250)], metal cyanides by ion chromatography (Dionex Application Note No.55), automated total cyanide by thin film distillation (ASTM D4374-93), automated weak acid dissociable by thin film distillation (ASTM D4374-93), and automated total cyanide by low power UV digestion (USEPA Method 335.3). Five different contaminated water samples, including MGP site groundwater, POTW influent and effluent (2), and aluminum smelting plant groundwater, as well as reagent waters prepared in the laboratory, were used in the study. Analysis of each contaminated water with the methods selected involved replications and spiking with sodium cyanide (NaCN), nickel cyanide (K2Ni(CN)4), and ferrocyanide (K4Fe(CN)6) to evaluate matrix-dependent method detection limits (MDLs), precision, and bias. This study demonstrated that the various species-specific cyanide analytical techniques can be employed reliably for low-concentration analysis with a range of contaminated water types, with the exception of the available cyanide method which when applied to raw municipal wastewater resulted in significant interference problems. Also, there was recovery of some diffusible cyanide in microdiffusion tests with nicke-lcyanide-spiked samples, apparently reflecting dissociation of this weak metal-cyanide complex during the test. These analytical method performance data can be used to assess the potential for routine application of the particular methods with different types of waters.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864700784546521

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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