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A New Reliable Method for Dimethyl Sulfoxide Analysis in Wastewater: Dimethyl Sulfoxide in Philadelphia's Three Water Pollution Control Plants

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A simple but reliable procedure was developed to analyze dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in wastewater. The isotope DMSO_d6 was used as the internal standard to ensure accuracy. The DMSO was reduced with stannous chloride and measured as dimethyl sulfide (DMS) with purge-and-trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The method detection limit was at the sub-microgram-per-milliliter level; precision, as measured by standard deviation, was better than ±0.5%; and the recoveries were between 95 and 105% at the level of 2 μg/mL. The procedure could use standard analytical instrumentation used for volatile organic compound analysis. A field study was conducted to validate the method and quantify DMSO concentration range in the three water pollution control plants (WPCPs) in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Results showed that, when a local chemical facility discharged, DMSO concentration could be as high as 12 mg/L in the influent to a WPCP. This would lead to the formation of a toxic “canned corn” DMS odor during the treatment processes.
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Keywords: DMS; DMSO; dimethyl sulfoxide; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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