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Cyanide - Total

Category Environmental Chemistry Lab Services
Test Cyanide - Total
Description

SCOPE AND APPLICATION

Method 9010 is reflux-distillation procedure used to extract soluble cyanide salts and many insoluble cyanide complexes from wastes and leachates. It is based on the decomposition of nearly all cyanides by a reflux distillation procedure using a strong acid and a magnesium catalyst. Cyanide, in the form of hydrocyanic acid (HCN) is purged from the sample and captured into an alkaline scrubber solution. The concentration of cyanide in the scrubber solution is then determined by Method 9014 or Method 9213. Method 9010 may be used as a reflux-distillation procedure for both total cyanide and cyanide amenable to chlorination. The "reactive" cyanide content of a waste, that is, the cyanide content that could generate toxic fumes when exposed to mild acidic conditions, is not determined by this method. Refer to Chapter Seven of SW-846 for the additional information on reactive cyanide.

This method was designed to address the problem of "trace" analyses (<1000 ppm). The method may also be used for "minor" (1000 ppm - 10,000 ppm) and "major" (>10,000 ppm) analyses by adapting the appropriate sample dilution. However, the amount of sodium hydroxide in the standards and the sample analyzed must be the same.

SUMMARY OF METHOD

The cyanide, as hydrocyanic acid (HCN), is released from samples containing cyanide by means of a reflux-distillation operation under acidic conditions and absorbed in a scrubber containing sodium hydroxide solution. The cyanide concentration in the absorbing solution is then determined colorimetrically or titrametrically by Method 9014 or by ion-selective electrode by Method 9213.


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