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Preservation of samples for dissolved mercury

Water Resources Bulletin

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.1989.tb03060.x

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Abstract

Water samples for dissolved mercury requires special treatment because of the high chemical mobility and volatility of this element. Widespread use of mercury and its compounds has provided many avenues for contamination of water. Two laboratory tests were done to determine the relative permeabilities of glass and plastic sample bottles to mercury vapor. Plastic containers were confirmed to be quite permeable to airborne mercury, glass containers were virtually impermeable. Methods of preservation include the use of various combinations of acids, oxidants, and complexing agents. The combination of nitric acid and potassium dichromate successfully preserved mercury in a large variety of concentrations and dissolved forms. Because this acid-oxidant preservative acts as a sink for airborne mercury and plastic containers are permeable to mercury vapor, glass bottles are preferred for sample collection. To maintain a healthy work environment and minimize the potential for contamination of water samples, mercury and its compounds are isolated from the atmosphere while in storage. Concurrently, a program to monitor environmental levels of mercury vapor in areas of potential contamination is needed to define the extent of mercury contamination and to assess the effectiveness of mercury clean-up procedures.Water samples for dissolved mercury require special treatment because of the high chemical mobility and volatility of this element. Widespread use of mercury and its compounds has provided many avenues for contamination of water. Two laboratory tests were done to determine the relative permeabilities of glass and plastic sample bottles to mercury vapor. Plastic containers were confirmed to be quite permeable to airborne mercury, glass containers were virtually impermeable. Methods of preservation include the use of various combinations of acids, oxidants, and complexing agents. The combination of nitric acid and potassium dichromate successfully preserved mercury in a large variety of concentrations and dissolved forms.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Preservation of samples for dissolved mercury
Series title:
Water Resources Bulletin
DOI:
10.1111/j.1752-1688.1989.tb03060.x
Volume
25
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1989
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Water Resources Association
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Water Resources Bulletin
First page:
255
Last page:
262