Determination of Perchlorate in Drinking Water Using Ion Chromatography

Drinking Water
Poster Presentation

Prepared by C. Shevlin, J. Hu, J. Rohrer
Thermo Fisher Scientific, 1214 Oakmead Parkway, Sunnyvale, California, 94085, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 774-402-0647


Perchlorate is widely used as the oxidizing component in solid propellants for rockets, munitions, and fireworks. However, perchlorate can contaminate soil, groundwater, and drinking water, leading to adverse health effects. Perchlorate in high doses can disrupt thyroid function
and hormone production, and therefore negatively affect the growth and development of fetuses and children and healthy metabolism in adults. Children who have been treated with perchlorate for their overactive thyroids are often found to have neurological and behavioral problems. California started to regulate perchlorate in drinking water in October 2007, setting the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at 6 µg/L. In 2015, the state also established the Public Health Goal (PHG) for perchlorate at 1 µg/L, superseding the PHG of 6 µg/L established in 2004. More than ten other states have similar health-based goals or advisory levels for perchlorate in drinking water.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed perchlorate on the first Contaminant Candidate List (CCL1) in 1998 and determined that perchlorate meets the Safe Drinking Water
Act’s criteria for regulation as a contaminant in February 2011. However, perchlorate is still not federally regulated.

This poster describes an updated method for perchlorate determination in drinking water with an improved suppressor. This study updates the approach with a high-resolution 4μm 2 mm IC column. In comparison to the conventional column in EPA 314, the 4µm column exhibits higher peak efficiency while maintaining chromatographic selectivity. Using 4µm column increases the sample throughput by 20% and saves three minutes per injection, thereby improving productivity for perchlorate determinations in drinking water. Key performance parameters were evaluated including separation, linearity, limits of detection, accuracy, and precision. Perchlorate concentrations were determined in three drinking water samples.