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Evaluation of Alternative Causes of Widespread, Low Concentration Perchlorate Impacts to Groundwater

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The frequency of detection of wide-spread, low concentration perchlorate impacts to groundwater has been increasing as regulators nationwide require perchlorate analysis as part of regional groundwater monitoring programs, even for areas not known for military activities involving propellants. While impacts from natural sources and mechanisms may explain some cases, other cases may result from long-term, non-military-based inputs, potentially including explosives road flares environmental release of electrochemically-prepared chemicals e.g., chlorate, hypochlorite containing perchlorate as an impurity and fireworks. Furthermore, EPA Method 314.0 is prone to a variety of false-positive detections and interferences related to common industrial chemicals such as sulfonates, raising the question of whether these low-level detections are perchlorate at all. The objective of this Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program SERDP Project ER-1429 was to identify and ultimately quantify, to the extent possible, the potential impacts of the aforementioned wide-ranging, non-military perchlorate inputs to the environment. Few publications have estimated potential perchlorate impacts to the environment from these products based on their perchlorate content, production figures and common applicationrelease rates. As an additional objective, the project team expanded on our previous research to understand the potential impact of sulfonates on perchlorate detections in groundwater. This project combined literature reviews, laboratory studies, and controlled field experiments to generate data to estimate potential groundwater impacts from significant non-military perchlorate sources.

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  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Water Pollution and Control

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