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Water Quality Analysis – Chloride in Water

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Water & Environmental

Chloride ions, or ionized chloride atoms, are derived mostly from salt deposits that leech into water. Some common chlorides include sodium chloride (NaCl) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2).

Fresh water has almost no chlorine ions whatsoever, whilst salt water from the ocean has the highest quantity of chloride ions. Many wells and water reservoirs can also build up chlorine ions from underground salt deposits, or deep aquifers that originate from ancient marine basins. Industrial processes combined with poor maintenance of filters and controls can also lead to a high Chloride concentration.

Why Test for Chloride?

Chlorides can corrode metals and pipes. It can affect the taste of food products, cause nausea and vomiting. Therefore, water that is used in industry or processed for any use has a maximum Chloride level. Chlorides can also contaminate fresh water streams and lakes, leading to death of aquatic life.

Measurement of Chlorides can be done using a colorimetric system or a photometric system. If you have a Lovibond® Comparator or a Photometer capable of measuring many parameters, you can obtain additional reagents for measuring Chloride levels.

Criteria in South Africa:

Criteria for protection of aquatic life requires levels of less than 600 ml / litre for chronic long-term exposure and 1200 mg / litre for short-term exposure.

Drinking water*:

< 300 mg / litre

* SANS 241-1: 2011 Drinking Water Standards

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Historical comments (4)



    How to i determine the content of chloride in water, including the calculations.

    • Janice M


      Hi. Chloride can be tested with an electronic photometer, which will do the calculations for you, such as the Lovibond MD 600.

      Please be sure that it is chloride that you wish to measure – not the much more commonly tested chlorine.

      Please send us more details of what type of water you are testing, if you would like more information.

  • Prudence


    Good day Janice ,
    We have a photometer MD 600 to test bottled water testing Ozone in the presence of chlorine with tablet-I’m getting both ozone & total chlorine as under range .How do I check the setting on the instruments -lower & upper limit of detection.

    • Janice M


      Hi Prudence
      Please see instruction manual, page 200:

      Lower limit is: 0.02 mg/l Ozone
      Upper limit is: 2 mg/l Ozone

      Thus an under range error means the Ozone level in the sample is less than 0.02 mg/l
      And over range indicates an Ozone level higher than 2 mg/l

      Please do contact us should you require further assistance.

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