Method 420.1 Water

Phenolics (Spectrophotometric, Manual 4-AAP With Distillation)

This method is for the determination of penolics from drinking, surface and saline waters, domestic and industrial wastes.  Phenolic materials react with 4-aminoantipyrine in the presence of potassium ferricyanide at a pH of 10 to form a stable reddish-brown colored antipyrine dye.  The amount of color produced is a function of the concentration of phenolic material.

The method is capable of measuring phenolic materials at the 5 µg/L level when the colored end product is extracted and concentrated in a solvent phase using phenol as a standard and measuring phenolic materials that contain more than 50 µg/L in the aqueous phase (without solvent extraction) using phenol as a standard.  It is not possible to use this method to differentiate between different kinds of phenols. 

Most samples require a preliminary distillation to remove interfering materials.

(EPA: Office of Water)


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Method Data

Hold Times, Preservatives, Preps, Collection, Analytical & Documentation
Holding Time:   24 hours from sample collection to analysis.
Preservatives:   Add 1 g/L of copper sulfate and acidfy to a pH < 4 with phosphoric acid to inhibit biological degradation. Cool sample to 4°C.
Required Preps:   200 mL amber glass bottle
Collection Method:   Grab sampling
Analytical Methodology:   Spectrophotometer
Documentation:   420.1

Analyte List*

Analyte Formula CAS Number Detection Limit
Total Phenol

* The analytes and detection limits listed for each method represent the typical detection limits and analytes reported for that particular method. Keep in mind that analyte lists may vary from laboratory to laboratory. Detection limits may also vary from lab to lab and are dependent upon the sample size, matrix, and any interferences that may be present in the sample.