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Identication of Contaminants In Water

  1. May 10, 2013 #1
    The purpose:
    Basically I've been given a pre-contaminated sample of water, as well as a post-contaminated sample of water. I have to determine what the water is contaminated with, and the concentration of the contaminants present in the water.

    My Problem:
    I have determined one contaminant that is present in the water, and this is ammonium with a reading of approximately 430 mg/L. However, it's not just ammonium by itself, there are other contaminants present. I've tested for a few things (calcium/chloride/nitrate) and all is fine. I'm limiting it down to phosphate or sulfate. The pH of the water is 8, and I know that ammonium in water creates a more basic solution. So whatever the other contaminant is, I'm assuming there is not much of it. Since I'm in highschool the testing equipment I can use is very limited. I can test for phosphate but I am yet to find a procedure I can use to test for sulfate ions.

    Does anyone know a procedure I could use to determine the amount of sulfate ions present in a given sample of water. I've searched long and hard and unable to find anything I can do with the equipment I have at school.

    Thankyou
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2013 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    The most obvious approach is the precipitation of barium sulfate.
     
  4. May 10, 2013 #3
    I've research this a little bit. From my understanding it only can determine whether there is sulfate present in the water sample, but not the concentration.
     
  5. May 10, 2013 #4

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    No, it can be used for quantitative analysis as well, this is one of the most basic gravimetric methods.
     
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