- Abstract Chemical oxygen demand (COD) assays are widely used for the estimation of the organic carbon content of water and wastewater. The procedure is subject to interference by free halogen ions, the oxidation of which creates artificially high COD values. As part of an investigation of the interferences involved in the COD determination of chemical industries wastewaters, we found that mercuric sulfate complexation, the standard procedure for neutralizing the halogen effects, is suitable for chlorides but is not applicable to bromides. This observation is true both in the presence or absence of chloride or ammonia. Care should therefore be exercised in the interpretation of COD data for bromide-containing samples.