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Trace Bromate Analysis by Modified EPA Method 321.8

Speciation Analysis
Analytical Methods
Dynamic Reaction
Arsenic Speciation
Selenium Speciation
Chromium Speciation
Trace Metals
Metal Cyanide Complexes
Stable Isotope Ratios


Applied Speciation and Consulting applies ion chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS) for trace bromate quantification (modified EPA Method 321.8).

Introduction: Due to the carcinogenic nature of bromate, the EPA has set the maximum contamination level (MCL) to 10 ug/L. Bromate is used in cleaning boilers, cosmetics, and food processing due to its oxidative nature; however, bromate is typically associated with drinking water and wastewater treatment. Wastewater and drinking water sources sometimes apply ozonation as a disinfectant to eliminate harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous nature of bromine in water systems, especially associated with salt water intrusion, often results in the formation of bromate from the ozonation process. Wastewater and drinking water typically effect more end users than all other industries combined; therefore, the ability to provide trace detection limits for bromate is of paramount importance.

Methods: Promulgated EPA methods currently facilitate ion chromatography for bromine compound separation followed by detection using conductivity or UV. Although ion chromatography is more than adequate for separating different bromine species, conductivity and UV detectors allow for false positives and have limited detection limits (10 ug/L). Applied Speciation eliminates these limitations by coupling the detection power of ICP-MS with the separation power of ion chromatography.

Application of ICP-MS for bromate analysis typically results in 0.1 ug/L detection limits. With ICP-MS as the detector, other matrix constituents can not produce a signal that can be confused with bromate and most importantly, bromate is identified by its isotopic pattern eliminating the possibility of false positives.

As with any analytical method providing speciation data, the recovery and speciation conversion of non-target species must be monitored. Applied Speciation and Consulting applies strict quality assurance procedures to ensure that other compounds containing bromine do not produce false positives for bromate. Other bromine species are spiked into the sample matrix to monitor conversion which also provides auxiliary information regarding the equilibrium of the sample matrix.


As more treatment facilities apply ozonation the demand for trace bromate analysis is becoming more of an issue. Current promulgated methods do not provide adequate detection limits and quality assurance to provide representative results with a high confidence interval.

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