Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical compound consisting of chlorine bonded to four oxygen atoms (ClO4- ). It occurs both naturally and as a manmade compound. While it was once thought to occur naturally only in one location, ongoing study has found naturally occurring perchlorate in other locations as well. As a manmade compound, it has been manufactured since before the turn of the last century and has been manufactured primarily for use in defense activities and the aerospace industry. Highly soluble and mobile in water, perchlorate is also very stable. Most of the attention focused on perchlorate contamination concerns ground and surface water contamination. However, it can also contaminate soil and vegetation. In general, past management practices did not prevent the release of perchlorate to the environment because it was not recognized or regarded as a contaminant of concern. Improved analytical methodology has increased the known extent of perchlorate contamination in the U.S. A variety of remediation technologies are currently commercially available and being used for perchlorate remediation.
This training, based on ITRC's Perchlorate: Overview of Issues, Status, and Remedial Options (PERC-1, September 2005), explains why perchlorate is a hot topic in the environmental community today including up-to-date information on sources, occurrences, toxicity and exposure, regulatory status and remediation alternatives.