UV-VIS Spectroscopy for Water Analysis and Environmental Applications

Water analysis is a hot topic in our eco-friendly world, and the truth is that water contamination is of central importance to environmental safety. Not only is UV-VIS spectroscopy an affordable method of water analysis, but it also has many applications in the world of environmental science. Compared with other methods of spectrophotometry, UV-VIS spectroscopy is more adaptable and versatile than many scientists once believed.

yellow water UV/VIS spectroscopy
UV-VIS analysis of water is an easy and effective method for determining organic compounds and possible contaminants in our water sources.
Image Source: Flickr user Koshy Koshy

Spectrophotometric Analysis of Bacterial Water Contaminants

One of the biggest concerns related to water contamination is bacteria. Although standard bacterial testing is effective, it is also time-consuming and can take nearly two days for a complete analysis. However, new developments in UV-VIS spectroscopy now utilize the measurement of light absorption to quantify bacterial concentration levels in water samples accurately. This process is immediate, portable, and cost-effective, making in a leading choice in analytical instrumentation for water safety analysis.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is continually searching for new ways to measure contaminants in drinking water. Despite it being overlooked in the past, new developments in UV-VIS technology offer more information and data about water quality and safety. Spectrophotometers that measure light in both the ultraviolet and near-infrared regions are designed for portability as well as durability, making them well-suited to field work in environmental studies.

drinking water UV/VIS spectroscopy
Clean drinking water is dependent on UV-VIS analytical data to determine harmful contaminants as well as for monitoring chlorine and fluoride levels in our water supply.
Image Source: Flickr user D Sharon Pruitt

Spectrophotometers for chlorine and fluoride quantification

Those who maintain water sources often add chlorine due to its disinfecting purposes. A small portion of residual chlorine results from this process, so water must be accurately monitored to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. Two main forms of residual chlorine exist, commonly referred to as ‘free chlorine’ or ‘combine chlorine’ residuals. UV-VIS spectroscopy offers an effective method for differentiating between the two. This identification is important because free residual chlorine is often considered a more effect disinfectant and can be used more effectively when properly detected in drinking water.

Fluoride is another common additive to our drinking water. UV-VIS spectroscopy can also be used to quantify levels of this element for both safety and effectiveness, and also provides an easy, non-destructive, chemical-free, and effective method of detection. Precise quantification and data can alert environmental specialists to excess levels of these additives in our drinking water.

UV-VIS Spectroscopy for Geological Studies Linked to Water Contamination

Geologists are also finding uses for these tools in their own area of environmental research. Spectral data can be used to create a unique reflectance signature of minerals and compounds found in nature. This data can then be used to map these geological elements and provide information about possible contamination patterns and water contamination in rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans.

Geologists use UV-VIS spectroscopy to evaluate the environmental impact of mining in our natural water sources. Trace levels of contamination are detectable using UV-VIS spectroscopy and harmful acid-producing mine drainage can be detected immediately, allowing for immediate implementation of the required clean-up procedure.

geological landform UV/VIS spectroscopy
Geologists utilize spectral technology to detect trace levels of mineral deposits and runoff contamination in natural bodies of water.
Image Source: Flickr user Petrified Forest

Benefits of UV-VIS Spectrophotometry

UV-VIS spectrophotometry has developed in leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Advances in this technology have provided scientists with a tool that offers a variety of applications in analytical research. These methods have been adapted for numerous areas of scientific research and have made strides in both biomedical and environmental engineering.

The benefits of spectrophotometers are especially applicable in the world of environmental science. These light measurement tools are highly adaptable to meet specific needs and offer a durable method of analysis that is both portable and instantaneous. New applications for this analytical method are on the rise, and at HunterLab, we are excited to explore all the possibilities of UV-VIS spectroscopy. We work together with leading scientists and researchers around the world to uncover new methods and uses for UV-VIS spectroscopy, and we are serious about making color measurement instrumentation that impacts our world. For more information on the HunterLab commitment to color technology and research, contact us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.