Water Quality

Two proposed standards from ASTM International’s water committee (D19) are devoted to different aspects of water quality. 

The first proposed standard (WK68866) will provide a screening method to assess contaminants in water samples prior to a more detailed analysis. If approved, this standard will cover the determination of adsorbable organic fluorine (AOF) in waters and waste waters that can be adsorbed to activated carbon.

“Currently there are more than 4000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)  in the environment,” says ASTM member Jay Gandhi, manager, Vertical Markets, Metrohm. “The proposed standard is a screening tool that will help capture more than 90% of PFAS chemicals to assess the PFAS impact in the environment.”

The proposed standard will be useful to manufacturers of consumer products that potentially contain PFAS substances, as well to environmental regulators.

The committee is also developing a proposed standard (WK74312) that will help to assess the potential for bioavailable aluminum in water samples to be toxic to aquatic life.

“The practical application of the proposed standard is that the method can be used to measure the fraction of aluminum in natural waters – rivers and lakes – that may result in toxicity,” says ASTM member Bill Adams. 

Adams, senior scientist, Red Cap Consulting, notes that the existing approach measures total aluminum in water, which includes aluminum that comes from suspended sediment in the sample. However, the fraction contained in that sediment is not available to organisms, so its inclusion in the measurement provides a false indication of the hazard of a given sample.

“The bioavailable aluminum method described in the proposed standard provides a more accurate measure of the potential of the aluminum in solution to be toxic to aquatic life,” says Adams. 

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. JOIN ASTM.

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