Raw and drinking water grab samples were collected throughout the province of Transvaal, Republic of South Africa, during a 2.5-year period from September 1988 to January 1991. Conductivity, pH and UV absorbance were recorded on all samples throughout the study period while trihalomethanes were measured on drinking water samples only. Results were compared to recommended and maximum allowable limits for drinking water. In addition, extracts of the water samples were analysed by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection for volatile organic complexes. All samples revealed a complex mixture of organic complexes at very low concentration. Thirty six organic compounds, which can be classified into 5 categories, were positively identified by mass spectrometry. The most frequently occurring compounds were phthalate esters and acyclic hydrocarbons. The low concentration levels at which each of the identified substances occurred are unlikely to constitute a health hazard.

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