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National Water Quality Laboratory

Friday December 15, 2017

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Open-File Report 93-416

Methods of analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory; determination of low-level silver by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry

By Donna L. Damrau

Increased awareness of the quality of water in the United States has led to the development of a method for determining low levels (0.2-5.0 microg/L) of silver in water samples. Use of graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry provides a sensitive, precise, and accurate method for determining low-level silver in samples of low ionic-strength water, precipitation water, and natural water. The minimum detection limit determined for low-level silver is 0.2 microg/L. Precision data were collected on natural-water samples and SRWS (Standard Reference Water Samples). The overall percent relative standard deviation for natural-water samples with silver concentrations more than 0.2 microg/L was less than 40 percent throughout the analytical range. For the SRWS with concentrations more than 0.2 microg/L, the overall percent relative standard deviation was less than 25 percent throughout the analytical range. The accuracy of the results was determined by spiking 6 natural-water samples with different known concentrations of the silver standard. The recoveries ranged from 61 to 119 percent at the 0.5-microg/L spike level. At the 1.25-microg/L spike level, the recoveries ranged from 92 to 106 percent. For the high spike level at 3.0 microg/L, the recoveries ranged from 65 to 113 percent. The measured concentrations of silver obtained from known samples were within the Branch of Quality Assurance accepted limits of 1 1/2 standard deviations on the basis of the SRWS program for Inter-Laboratory studies.

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