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Incomplete Oxidation of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid in Chemical Oxygen Demand Analysis

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Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) was found to incompletely oxidize in chemical oxygen demand (COD) analysis, leading to incorrect COD values for water samples containing relatively large amounts of EDTA. The degree of oxidation depended on the oxidant used, its concentration, and the length of digestion. The COD concentrations measured using COD vials with a potassium dichromate concentration of 0.10 N (after dilution by sample and sulfuric acid) were near theoretical oxygen demand values. However, COD measured with dichromate concentrations of 0.010 N and 0.0022 N were 30 to 40% lower than theoretical oxygen demand values. Similarly, lower COD values were observed with manganic sulfate as oxidant at 0.011 N. Extended digestion yielded somewhat higher COD values, suggesting incomplete and slower oxidation of EDTA, as a result of lower oxidant concentrations. For wastewater in which EDTA is a large fraction of COD, accurate COD measurement may not be achieved with methods using dichromate concentrations less than 0.1 N.

Keywords: chemical oxygen demand; ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid wastewater analysis; manganic sulfate; oxidation; potassium dichromate

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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  • 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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