Water Analysis: A Close Look
WQP: What trends are you seeing in the industry in terms of the different types of analysis being requested?
Marianne R. Metzger: In terms of water treatment dealers and manufacturers, we are seeing a large increase in requests of various types of arsenic testing such as low level and specification. Many dealers who have arsenic detections come back to have us help them identify the form of arsenic in order to prescribe the appropriate treatment option. In the past it was an expensive testing method to differentiate the two main forms of inorganic arsenic, but things have progressed and now water treatment professionals have the testing options they need at a reasonable cost. I think this is a tremendous help to dealers in areas where high levels of arsenic have been detected. They are now armed with accurate information as to the type of arsenic and are able to determine the best treatment option without the trial and error they have had to resort to in the past without this analysis. Many of the manufacturers are also looking at arsenic but in a much different way, as they are trying to determine the amount of arsenic that may leach from their carbon filter products. Manufacturers of carbon filters, especially those selling in California, began looking for an arsenic test with a very low detection level. For example, National Testing Laboratories, Ltd. is now able to offer these manufacturers an affordable option for testing arsenic down to 0.025 micrograms per liter. We have listened to our customer’s needs when it comes to arsenic, and we formulated our solutions to meet their expectations.
WQP: What about perchlorate? Have you seen any increased activity with regard to perchlorate?
Metzger: Since there has been quite a bit of media attention dedicated to the perchlorate issue we have been getting many questions from clients including water treatment professionals, well drillers, homeowners with private wells, bottled water companies and public water supplies. Right now, the testing methods being used are somewhat expensive, so water treatment dealers and homeowners are reluctant to test. As the technology continues to improve we may see a decrease in testing cost. Since 1999, the EPA is requiring certain Public Water Supplies to monitor for perchlorate under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, which has provided the data as to the occurrence of this contaminant. Some states are requiring monitoring under their drinking water programs, the most notable being Massachusetts. Massachusetts has adopted emergency regulations, which require public water systems to monitor for perchlorate utilizing a modified analytical method. The method required is based upon the EPA’s UCMR 314.0 method, and the modification is intended to meet the lower detection level of 1 part per billion as required by Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In addition to the public water supplies, Massachusetts also requires bottled water companies to monitor for perchlorate, including those located within the state and those who have their source located outside of Massachusetts but are licensed to sell
within the state.