Testing Orthophosphate in Drinking Water?

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Testing Orthophosphate in Drinking Water? Discrete Analyzers Bring Welcome Automation

Team TFS
Team TFS

In a world continuously faced with environmental challenges, analyzing drinking water for contaminants is essential to protect public health.


Aqua Master.jpgIf your lab analyzes drinking water — and if you’re seeking better ways to automate and simplify the process while meeting regulatory compliance requirements — here are eight things you need to know:


1. Compliance with standards and regulations is non-negotiable

In the United States, the quality of drinking water is regulated and supervised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The water quality parameters of health concerns and their analysis are regulated under the 40 CFR Part 141 National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.


2. Drinking water contaminants can be wide-ranging

Analysis of drinking water is an important method for identifying contaminants such as inorganic anions, cations, heavy metals, organic pollutants, and nutrients.


3. Orthophosphate is a common additive used by water utilities

Water utility companies treat drinking water by adding orthophosphate to prevent the corrosion that can cause metals, particularly copper and lead, to dissolve and leak into water systems. Lead contamination occurs when water comes in contact with lead pipes, and lead contamination in drinking water is a huge problem for municipalities with an older infrastructure.


4. Discrete analyzers are a smart way to measure orthophosphate

In 2016, the EPA approved the first discrete analyzer method for testing orthophosphate in drinking water, which uses the Thermo Scientific™ Gallery™ discrete analyzer platform. The Thermo Scientific drinking water method: Drinking Water Orthophosphate for the Thermo Scientific Gallery Discrete Analyzer is the resource that describes the EPA-approved alternative method for testing drinking water for orthophosphate.


5. EPA’s original method (2016) based on ascorbic acid reduction


The Thermo Scientific drinking water method is based on the well-established and EPA-approved reference method SM 4500-P E: Phosphorous by Ascorbic Acid Method. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, which detects orthophosphate using the ascorbic acid reduction method.


In this method, orthophosphate reacts with ammonium molybdate and antimony potassium tartrate in an acidic medium to form an antimony-phospho-molybdate complex. The complex is subsequently reduced by ascorbic acid to form an intensely blue complex that is measured photometrically at 880 nm. The method is easily automated using the Gallery discrete analyzers, which allow simultaneous analysis of multiple parameters in the same sample aliquot.


6. Ready-to-use Gallery system reagents, test procedures help to further streamline analyses


The Thermo Scientific Gallery and Gallery Plus Aqua Master discrete analyzers provide equivalent performance and are therefore also applicable to the Thermo Scientific method. The Gallery Aqua Master discrete analyzers add additional capabilities, including automatic spiking, flexible test, and quality control (QC) parameter configuration, and flexible results reporting with versatile features for configuring report templates.


7. New application note shows correlation between two methods


In Thermo Fisher’s application note (001747), you can read the performance study results that showed the automated method meets the QC acceptance criteria in the reference method. The Thermo Scientific orthophosphate method showed a good correlation to the well-established EPA-approved reference method 4500-P E: Phosphorous by Ascorbic Acid Method. The study also demonstrated that when performed using the Gallery discrete analyzers, the method is suitable for analyzing different types of water samples. Read the app note here.


8. Discrete analyzers and methods can dramatically increase efficiency

The Thermo Scientific discrete analyzer method offers laboratories an automated, high-throughput option for regulated testing for orthophosphate in drinking water. Walk-away automation simplifies drinking water analyses and reduces errors. Ready-to-use Gallery system reagents are convenient, and likewise decrease the costs and errors associated with manual processes. The Gallery and Gallery Plus Aqua Master discrete analyzers provide equivalent performance and can also be applied to the Thermo Scientific method.


Additional resources

To learn more about the Gallery Aqua Master, check out these online resources:

We also encourage you to join our AnalyteGuru community to stay informed when new drinking water analysis topics are released.


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