Determining ammonia levels in drinking water, pharmaceuticals, and even soil
Classified as a hazardous substance under EPA regulations, ammonia is a colorless gas that carries a distinctly sharp odor. A compound of nitrogen and hydrogen molecules, it dissolves easily in water, entering environmental waters through decomposition of nitrogen-containing compounds.
Spectroscopic techniques for ammonia determination may require an additional distillation step, while ion chromatography (IC) can determine ammonium and its inorganic cations in a single run.
In the U.S., the ammonium cation (NH4) is measured for wastewater discharge compliance. In the EU and Japan, ammonia is monitored in both wastewater and drinking water.
- WHO: Recognizes ammonia odor effects at a concentration of 1.5mg/L and taste effects at 35mg/L.
- EPA: There is no mandated Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for ammonia. However, ammonia is toxic to aquatic life, and annual release reporting is required, as well as immediate reporting for a release of more than 100 pounds in a 24-hour period.
- USP: Ammonia is measured by a colorimetric assay in the USP-NF sodium bicarbonate monograph, with a 0.002% limit for ammonia in sodium bicarbonate.
- FDA: Lists ammonia as a respiratory toxicant and requires tobacco product manufacturers to report the quantity present in their products.
Example application notes
|Application Notes||Sample||MDL||IC Column|
|Determination of Inorganic Cations and Ammonium in Environmental Waters by Ion Chromatography (AN 141)||drinking water, wastewater||1.23mg/L||Dionex IonPac CS16 Columns|
|Determination of Ammonia in Sodium Bicarbonate (AN 1073)||sodium bicarbonate||0.001mg/L||Dionex IonPac CS16 Columns|
|Ion Chromatography Assay for Ammonia in Adenosine|
|adenosine||0.001mg/L||Dionex IonPac CS12A Columns|
|Determination of Ammonia in Tobacco Smoke (AN 1054)||tobacco smoke||0.003mg/L||Dionex IonPac CS19 Columns|