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CYANIDE GENERATION DURING PRESERVATION OF CHLORINATED WASTEWATER EFFLUENT SAMPLES FOR TOTAL CYANIDE ANALYSIS

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Dechlorinating agents and pH adjustment are often used to preserve samples for the total cyanide analysis of wastewater samples. We examined the effects of four approved preservation protocols on the results of the total cyanide analysis of the effluent from four publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The results differed widely, and a clear pattern emerged. Immediate analysis without pH adjustment to ≥ 12 gave cyanide concentrations below our reporting limit of 5 μg/L, irrespective of the dechlorinating agents used. When the pH was adjusted to ≥ 12, a slight increase in the measured cyanide concentration was observed when thiosulfate was used to dechlorinate the samples, and a significant increase (> 10 μg/L) was observed when arsenite was used as the dechlorinating agent. These results provide evidence that approved preservation protocols may give rise to cyanide formation in chlorinated wastewater effluent matrices.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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