One of the most widely used testing methods for free and total chlorine makes use of something known as ‘DPD’ which stands for N,N Diethyl-1,4 Phenylenediamine Sulfate. The addition of DPD to water samples containing oxidizers such as free chlorine, bromine, ozone, iodine, chlorine dioxide and/or permanganate results in the formation of a reddish tint to the water whose intensity directly relates to the amount of oxidizer(s) present in the water sample.
At low oxidizer concentrations water samples turn a slight shade of pink in the presence of DPD and at higher oxidizer concentrations the sample will turn blood-red orange. In extremely high concentrations of oxidizers, as in above 10 ppm, the sample will turn blood-red and then go crystal clear due to the bleaching effect of the oxidizer(s) it contains.
Other oxidizers such as ozone and total chlorine do not react directly with DPD and require the addition of a compound known as Potassium Iodide (KI) before they will react with DPD.
- DPD-1 — Used to test oxidizer levels in water samples containing free chlorine, bromine, iodine, chlorine dioxide and/or permanganate.
- DPD-3 — Useless on its own, but when added to samples already containing DPD-1 and free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, iodine, chlorine dioxide, permanganate and/or ozone, pink through blood-red color development will occur in the sample.
- DPD-4 — The combination of DPD-1 (N,N Diethyl-1,4 Phenylenediamine Sulfate) and DPD-3 (KI) to samples containing free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, iodine, chlorine dioxide, permanganate and/or ozone will result in pink through blood-red color development in the sample. Simply put, DPD-1 + DPD-3 = DPD-4.