Perchlorate ion (ClO4-) is an environmental contaminant of growing concern due to its potential human health effects, impact on aquatic and land animals, and widespread occurrence throughout the United States. The determination of perchlorate cannot normally be carried out in the field. As such, water samples for perchlorate analysis are often shipped to a central laboratory, where they may be stored for a significant period before analysis. The stability of perchlorate ion in various types of commonly encountered water samples has not been generally examined-the effect of such storage is thus not known. In the present study, the long-term stability of perchlorate ion in deionized water, tap water, ground water, and surface water was examined. Sample sets containing approximately 1000, 100, 1.0, and 0.5 ??g l-1 perchlorate ion in deionized water and also in local tap water were formulated. These samples were analyzed by ion chromatography for perchlorate ion concentration against freshly prepared standards every 24 h for the first 7 days, biweekly for the next 4 weeks, and periodically after that for a total of 400 or 610 days for the two lowest concentrations and a total of 428 or 638 days for the high concentrations. Ground and surface water samples containing perchlorate were collected, held and analyzed for perchlorate concentration periodically over at least 360 days. All samples except for the surface water samples were found to be stable for the duration of the study, allowing for holding times of at least 300 days for ground water samples and at least 90 days for surface water samples. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.