River Water Quality Analysis via Headspace Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Johnny Jock Lee Tang
  • Phyllis Jacqueline Nishi
  • Gabriel Eng Wee Chong
  • Martin Gideon Wong
  • Hong Siang Chua
  • Sing Muk Ng


Human civilization has intensified the interaction between the community and the environment. This increases the threat on the environm ent for being over exploited and contaminated with m anmade products and synthetic chemicals. Of all, clean water is one of the resources that can be easily contaminated since it is a universal solvent and of high mobility. This work reports the development and optimization of a water quality monitoring system based on metal oxide sensors. The system is intended to a ssist the detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in water sources online and onsite. The sampling mechanism was based on contactless mode, where headspace partial pressure of the VOCs formed above the water body in a close chamber was drawn for detection at the sensor platform. Pure toluene was used as standard to represent the broad spectrum of VOCs, and the sensor dynamic range was achieved from 1-1000 ppb. Several sensing parameters such as sampling time, headspace volume, and sensor recovery were s tudied and optimized. Besides direct detection of VOC contaminants in the water, the work has also been extended to detect VOCs produced by microbial communities and to c orrelate the size of the communities with the reading of V OCs recorded. This can serve to give b etter indication of water quality, not only on the conce ntration of VOCs c ontamination from chemicals, but also the content of microbes, which some can have severe effect on human health.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalAIP Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017