Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 8, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

A survey on the temporal and spatial distribution of perchlorate in the Potomac River

Author affiliations


Samples of river water and treated drinking water were obtained from eight sites along the Potomac River between western Maryland and Washington DC. Samples were collected each month from October 2007 to September 2008 and analyzed for perchlorate by ion chromatography/mass spectrometry. Data on anions were also collected for seven of the twelve months. Data were analyzed to identify spatial and temporal patterns for the occurrence of perchlorate in the Potomac. Over the year of sampling, the largest monthly increase occurred from June to July, with levels then decreasing from July to September. Samples from the period between December and May had lower perchlorate concentrations, relative to the remainder of the study year. Spatially, higher levels of perchlorate were found at sites located in west-central Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and central northern Virginia, with levels decreasing slightly as the Potomac approaches Washington DC. Within the sampling boundaries, river (untreated) water perchlorate concentrations ranged from 0.03 μg L−1 to 7.63 μg L−1, averaged 0.67 ± 0.97 μg L−1 over the year-long period and had a median value of 0.37 μg L−1. There was no evidence that any of the existing drinking water treatment technologies at the sampling sites were effective in removing perchlorate. There were no correlations found between the presence of perchlorate and any of the anions or water quality parameters examined in the source water with the exception of a weak positive correlation with water temperature. Results from the summer (June–August) and fall (September–November) months sampled in this study were generally higher than from the winter and spring months (December–May). All but one of the locations had annual average perchlorate levels below 1 μg L−1; however, 7 of the 8 sites sampled had river water perchlorate detections over 1 μg L−1 and 5 of the 8 sites had treated water detections over this level.

Graphical abstract: A survey on the temporal and spatial distribution of perchlorate in the Potomac River

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 15 Nov 2010, accepted on 03 Jun 2011 and first published on 29 Jun 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00678E
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2011,13, 2277-2283

  •   Request permissions

    A survey on the temporal and spatial distribution of perchlorate in the Potomac River

    C. A. Impellitteri, J. P. Saxe, E. C. Schmitt and K. R. Young, J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 2277
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00678E

Search articles by author