Comparison of a novel extraction-based colorimetric (ABTS) method with membrane introduction mass spectrometry (MIMS): Trichloramine dynamics in pool water
Trichloramine is a hazardous disinfection by-product, which is present in chlorinated swimming pools. Although it is primarily taken up by inhalation, the concentration in pool water is important to monitor pool water quality and to assess trichloramine mitigation strategies. To date, scarce data is available on trichloramine concentration in pool water due to the lack of a suitable and easily applicable analytical method. This study presents a novel low cost, colorimetric method which is easy to operate and suitable for on-site measurements of trichloramine concentrations ≥0.05 μM (≥0.01 mg L−1 as Cl2). The analytical method (termed “extraction-based ABTS method”) consists of, (i) trichloramine stripping from pool water samples, (ii) passing it through a solid phase filter, composed of silica gel impregnated with sulfamic acid to eliminate interferences and (iii) trichloramine reaction with the indicator 2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS) to produce the coloured ABTS•− radical, which is measured at λ = 405 nm to determine the trichloramine concentration in the pool water sample. A comparison of the extraction-based ABTS method with membrane introduction mass spectrometry (MIMS) for 28 pool samples revealed a good correlation of the two methods. The trichloramine concentration in pool samples is correlated to HOCl, which is the most important factor for its formation. Other parameters such as combined chlorine and pH play a minor role while no correlation between trichloramine and the urea or the TOC concentration was observed. On-site measurements with MIMS in a wading pool over 6 days with a time resolution of 1 h confirmed that trichloramine concentrations strongly responded to changes in free chlorine concentrations. A diurnal measurement of trichloramine with a time resolution of 20 min revealed that trichloramine concentrations reacted quickly and sensitively to the bather load and that urea is probably not the main precursor for its formation.