Drinking water is critical to human and animal survival and testing is important around the world to ensure the water is contaminant-free. Both organic and inorganic contaminants are of interest and new compounds are constantly being evaluated for addition to the regulated lists.
Contaminants that are of concern today include a variety of chemicals such as pesticides, bisphenol A, PFOAs, 1, 4 dioxane, and approximately 50 others.
The European water methods have become more sophisticated recently and include particulates and any other components in the extraction process. This represents a true picture of the water quality, rather than excluding the solid material, to which analytes of interest may adhere.
Wastewater and Surface Water
The minimization of pollution in waterways used for recreation and wildlife is handled differently around the world. Whether the maximum amount of a pollutant discharged into a waterway is regulated or payment for the amount of pollutant discharged is the rule, measurements are critical.
The matrix can be more complex than drinking water, but many of the contaminants of interest are the same and can be present at low concentrations. There has been increasing concern about hormones, prescription drugs and caffeine that are discharged into wastewater treatment plants and may not be adequately removed by existing processes, so the list of analytes continues to diversify and grow.
Groundwater and Solid Waste
Groundwater is a precious resource and is often used as a source of drinking water. It can become contaminated through leaching from municipal and hazardous waste or accidental spills. The most recent cause for concern is hydraulic fracturing (Fracking) which may make groundwater more susceptible to contamination through channels opened during the process to remove natural gas.
Groundwater monitoring is important around landfills and during any kind of clean-up process and may require analysis of a variety of analytes, depending upon the source or potential source of contamination.