Water Analysis

Overview of Water Analysis

Proper water analysis ensures that our fresh water is clean enough to support life.  Many contaminants, such as heavy metals and nitrates, have a detrimental affect on the ecosystem in high enough concentrations.  The EPA regulates concentrations of these contaminants that stem from human activities, such as the heavy use of fertilizers while farming.

The first overarching law to protect water quality in the United States, the Clean Water Act, was enacted in 1987.  An important and ongoing project at the Ohio State University, as part of the Research Experiences to Enhance Learning (REEL) program, is the collection and analysis of natural water samples from the Greater Columbus, OH area to examine water quality and identify and quantify contaminants (see below).

Buffer Capacity

Ability of water to maintain the pH range necessary for life

Sample Collection

Standard methods of collection for comparison

Data Analysis

Standard methods of analysis for comparison of data obtained

Description of Data

Combinations of graphical and statistical techniques


Halogen atoms with negative charges acting as contaminants

IC Calibration/Operation/Overview/Theory

Ion Chromatography Techniques


Effects of high concentrations in water sources


Sources and effects of Nitrogen containing compounds

Other Anions

Different contaminants in water


Organisms require a pH between 6 and 9 to live

Sample Processing

Standard methods for studying samples

Sample Handling

Standard methods for treatment of samples

Sample Storage

Proper methods to prevent degradation of samples

Water Temperature

Effect of temperature on content of dissolved contaminants

Tests and Methods

Correct approaches to analyze the samples

Analytes in Water

Sources of contaminants in water


Content on this web page authored by Samantha Fisher, Matt McKiney, Peng Lam, Jared Bennet & Caroline Shipman

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