BTO rapport - BTO 2018.022

The hunt for highly polar substances


Highly polar chemicals are mobile in an aqueous environment. They are poorly removed from wastewater and by drinking water treatment. Consequently, these chemicals can be expected in wastewater effluent, surface water, groundwater and even in drinking water. Analytical methods for the analysis of trace levels of these compounds in water are largely lacking. Within this study a non-target screening was developed for analysis of highly polar chemicals, based on sample evaporation and reconstituting in organic solvent, followed by HILIC coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. The method was validated with 38 highly polar chemicals in surface water and drinking water. Despite the fact that the method does not cover all highly polar chemicals – especially strong acidic substances appear difficult to be separated and detected – the developed method allows to detect a wide array of highly polar chemicals at a level of 1 µg/L or lower. The method can therefore be applied to analyze “other anthropogenic substances” that are not yet specified in “Het Drinkwaterbesluit” can be applied to screen of new and yet unidentified highly polar substances. The method is complementary to currently applied target and non-target methods for less polar substances. Thereby, it can be applied for a better (drinking) water quality assessment.

De verspreiding van zeer polaire stoffen in het milieu is groot, omdat zij goed uitspoelen naar grondwater en slecht worden verwijderd in zuiveringsinstallaties van afval- en drinkwater. Een goede methode om de aanwezigheid en het gedrag van zeer polaire stoffen in de waterketen te monitoren ontbreekt nog. Er is een HILIC non-target analyse methode ontwikkeld en gevalideerd voor 38 zeer polaire stoffen in oppervlaktewater en drinkwater. De methode biedt handvatten om de zeer polaire fractie van de “overige antropogene stoffen” uit het Drinkwaterbesluit te meten op een niveau van 1 µg/L. De methode is in te zetten voor de screening naar onbekende zeer polaire stoffen.

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