Water Chemistry

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I have a water sample that contains 0.50 mg/l (or ppm) of phosphate.
We know that phosphate is a component of Total Phosphorous.
How do I calculate what the Total Phosphorous is from my sample that contains 0.50 mg/l of phosphate???

I have to do something with the atomic weights of P and O(4)...or divide P/O(4) or 30/64 but then what???

Many thanks.

  • Water Chemistry -

    a) Look up the atomic mass of P.
    b) Calculate the formula mass of the phosphate ion, PO4^2-.
    Multiply 0.50 mg/L by the fraction of (a)/(b).
    [The above fraction is roughly 31/95, not 30/64]

  • Water Chemistry -

    So, Total Phosphorous is 0.16 mg/l?

  • Water Chemistry -

    That's correct.

  • Water Chemistry -

    I might point out here that 0.16 mg/L is the P in the phosphate which may or may not be the total P in the sample. IF all of the P in the sample was converted to phosphate, then phosphate determined, that represents the total P in the sample. However, if phosphate was determined without first making sure that ALL of the P was in the form of phosphate, then 0.16 may not represent total P. It's a picky point but worth pointing out, I think.

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