Protect Drinking Water with Continuous, Unattended Monitoring

Poster Presentation

Prepared by

Contact Information:; 617-510-3773


Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) was formed in 1948 to monitor and control pollution in the Ohio River Valley. After a spill of carbon tetrachloride in 1977, the Organics Detection System (ODS) was created in 1978 to ensure future spills would be detected and identified then immediately notify officials to coordinate emergency response activities. A system was devised where daily samples were collected by operators to monitor 30 purgeable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in surface waters. To improve the sampling process, ORSANCO implemented an automated system which provided continuous VOC data.
In this application, 30 VOCs are analyzed using the CMS5000, an autonomous online purge and trap GC/MAID (Micro Argon Ionization Detector) instrument. These VOCs were of concern in the raw water influent, and were detected at levels down to 0.5 ppb. The CMS5000 was integrated into the existing infrastructure and set up to continuously monitor the raw water intake. Alarms are triggered when the concentration of any of these contaminants exceeds 2 ppb.
In general, early warning of the presence of contaminants is essential to water facilities, and on-going and reliable data about the concentration of VOCs present in drinking water is an important element of any attempt to monitor overall water quality. This application shows that it is possible to achieve actionable analytical results using an autonomous purge and trap GC system.