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Bromide and chloride are both used as tracers to study water and solute transport through soils. They do not adsorb to negatively charged soil minerals, which allows them to move as fast as water through the soil.  The main difference between the two is that chloride is more ubiquitous in the soil than bromide. This is mainly due the higher concentration of chloride use in manures and fertilizers.  As the concentration of bromide is much less in soils, it is often the preferred tracer.  The purpose for testing for bromides prior to oil and gas drilling is to establish a base level to compare to levels found after the drilling process.

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Page reviewed: 1/13/15