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Alternative Methods for Analysis of NDMA and Other Nitrosamines in Water and Wastewater

Project: 01-01
Type: Report
Year Released: 2005

Program: Principal
Funding Partners: Bureau of Reclamation, California State Water Resources Control Board
Total Investment: $317,960.02 (Cash: $250,000, In-Kind: $67,960.02)

Principal Investigator: Robert C. Cheng, Ph.D., P.E., Long Beach Water Department


The chemical, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), has been identified as a probable human carcinogen by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Exposure to NDMA at high levels has been demonstrated to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The general population may be exposed to NDMA from various pathways, including inhalation (air) and ingestion (food and beverages). More recently, NDMA has been detected in potable water, recycled water, and wastewater.

Goals and Objectives

The project evaluated, refined, and developed multiple methods for NDMA analysis, and where applicable, determine how well these methods were able to detect other nitrosamines. Although low-level detection limits are important considerations for developing these methods, another purpose of this project was to evaluate the performance of multiple methods when applied to a variety of water matrices.

Findings and Conclusions

This research makes significant strides toward standardizing NDMA testing methods. Existing methods
were examined and the relevant factors refined in order to optimize the absolute recoveries for NDMA and other nitrosamines. This research also developed modified viable testing methods that were validated through an extensive round-robin process. All laboratory procedures are documented in detail.

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