The Measurement of Formaldehyde in Drinking Water Using Automated SPE and HPLC

Oral Presentation

Prepared by B. Johnson, M. Ebitson
Horizon Technology, Inc, 16 Northwestern Dr., Salem, NH, 03079, United States

Contact Information:; 603-893-3620


Formaldehyde is found in many products including particle board and permanent-press clothing. It has also been reported to be used in fracking fluid as a biocide or scale inhibitor. It is not unexpected that it might also be found in water supplies for drinking water. Although not currently regulated in drinking water, it is included in Candidate Contaminant List, which will be monitored for occurrence and further evaluated for regulation in the next few years. The EPA reason given for inclusion is “It is an ozoneation disinfection byproduct, can occur naturally and has been used as a fungicide.”

Two EPA methods are available for preparation and analysis of the compound: US EPA Method 554 in the drinking water program and US EPA Method 8315A in the Office of Resource Conservation, using the same general methodology for collection on a C18 cartridge or disk and elution with ethanol. The sample is derivatized with 2, 4-dinitrophenyl hydrazine, and detection with HPLC-UV is used for the analytical measurement. When cartridges are used for collection of the analytes, inconsistent flow rates or flow rates faster than specified can affect the recovery and precision. Performance using an automated system to provide consistent performance will be evaluated and compared with manual performance. A variety of concentration levels and types of drinking water will be shown.