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Ion chromatography (IC) incorporates ion exchange chromatography coupled to eluent suppression and electrical conductivity detection for the sequential elution and determination of anions or cations. In the area of rainwater analysis, IC offers the ability to determine anion and cation profiles at below parts per million levels in very small samples. IC is being used presently in several rain sampling networks such as Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United States Geological Survey. The parameters that are commonly measured by IC in rainwater are fluoride, chloride, phosphate, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, ammonium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
This paper deals with all aspects of IC as it pertains to rainwater analysis and includes theory and instrumentation along with sample analysis. Details on the precision and accuracy of the technique and a comparison to other methodology are shown.
ion chromatography, chloride, phosphate, nitrate, sulfate, anions, cations
Technical service manager, Dionex Corporation, Sunnyvale, Calif.