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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 wastewater samples for cyanide analysis. The effects of four approved preservation protocols on the results of the total cyanide analysis of effluents from four water reclamation plants were examined. The results differed widely, and a clear pattern emerged. Immediate analysis without pH adjustment generally gave total cyanide concentrations below the 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 total 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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Keywords: analysis; analytical methods; cyanide; cyanide formation; dechlorination; interference; pH; preservation; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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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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