March 2008, Vol. 20, No.3

Water Volumes

Analytical Methods for Drinking Water: Advances in Sampling and Analysis

Bart Van der Bruggen

Philippe Quevauviller and K. Clive Thompson (2006). John Wiley & Sons Ltd., The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ, 196 pp., $170, Hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-0-470-09491-4.

This book is the fourth title in the “Water Quality Measurements Series,” which focuses on analytical techniques used for the measurement of the water cycle quality. Previous titles discussed lake monitoring, quality assurance for water analysis, and detection methods for algae, protozoa, and helminths. This new book considers the chemical quality of drinking water. Four distinct issues are considered: regulations on drinking water and standardization of procedures; determination of bromate in drinking water; monitoring of the presence of lead; and procedure development for metallic and cementitious materials in contact with drinking water.

The first chapter, on legislation and standardization, focuses on today’s trends in the European Union (EU) and the United States. For the EU, reference is made to the World Health Organization’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point approach, which essentially is an estimate of risks related to drinking water consumption. This might allow reducing the current list of 62 regulated parameters but will also introduce new, partly unknown threats, such as pharmaceuticals, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, algal toxins, and microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The United States essentially follows the same reasoning through amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Trends in analytical determination methods for bromate are described in chapter two. Bromate is a growing concern and a good example of a compound for which the limits of detection need to be progressively lower. The authors concisely explain analytical tools, such as ion chromatography and its coupling to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, spectrophotometry, and fluorescence. Two specific points of interest are the stability of bromates and the toxicity and occurrence in drinking water.

Lead is taken as a typical example of monitoring strategies in chapter three. The standard of 10 µg/L in the EU refers to the point of use and therefore depends on several factors influenced by the usage pattern. The authors explain differences between composite proportional samples and other samples, and extensively describe interpretation of sampling data.

The final chapter focuses on the development of procedures for materials in contact with drinking water. Based on risks to be expected, a distinction is made between metallic and cementitious materials. Interlaboratory test results are discussed.

The individual chapters are all of a very high standard, scientifically sound, and absolutely useful in practice. The basis for discussion is the European situation, but the results are general and certainly not limited to Europe. In fact, the book might be of even greater interest for non-European readers.

Bart Van der Bruggen is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Leuven (Belgium).

Bart Van der Bruggen is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Leuven (Belgium).