ASTM D3223 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Total Mercury in Water

    Active Standard ASTM D3223 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.01


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The presence of mercury in industrial discharge, domestic discharge, and potable water is of concern to the public because of its toxicity. Regulations and standards have been established that require the monitoring of mercury in water. This test method provides an analytical procedure to measure total mercury in water.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method2 covers the determination of total mercury in water in the range from 0.5 to 10.0 μg Hg/L (1).3 The test method is applicable to fresh waters, saline waters, and some industrial and sewage effluents. It is the user's responsibility to ensure the validity of this test method for waters of untested matrices.

    1.1.1 The analyst should recognize that the precision and bias of this standard may be affected by the other constituents in all waters, as tap, industrial, river, and wastewaters. The cold vapor atomic absorption measurement portion of this method is applicable to the analysis of materials other than water (sediments, biological materials, tissues, etc.) if, and only if, an initial procedure for digesting and oxidizing the sample is carried out, ensuring that the mercury in the sample is converted to the mercuric ion, and is dissolved in aqueous media (2,3).

    1.2 Both organic and inorganic mercury compounds may be analyzed by this procedure if they are first converted to mercuric ions. Using potassium persulfate and potassium permanganate as oxidants, and a digestion temperature of 95°C, approximately 100 % recovery of organomercury compounds can be obtained (2,4).

    1.3 The range of the test method may be changed by instrument or recorder expansion or both, and by using a larger volume of sample.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.5 A method for the disposal of mercury-containing wastes is also presented (Appendix X1) (5).

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements, see 7.8 and 10.8.2.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D512 Test Methods for Chloride Ion In Water

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    D1245 Practice for Examination of Water-Formed Deposits by Chemical Microscopy

    D1252 Test Methods for Chemical Oxygen Demand (Dichromate Oxygen Demand) of Water

    D1426 Test Methods for Ammonia Nitrogen In Water

    D2777 Practice for Determination of Precision and Bias of Applicable Test Methods of Committee D19 on Water

    D3370 Practices for Sampling Water from Closed Conduits

    D4691 Practice for Measuring Elements in Water by Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry

    D4841 Practice for Estimation of Holding Time for Water Samples Containing Organic and Inorganic Constituents

    D5810 Guide for Spiking into Aqueous Samples

    D5847 Practice for Writing Quality Control Specifications for Standard Test Methods for Water Analysis


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.060.50 (Examination of water for chemical substances)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D3223-12

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