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MPHL Home : DEC Volatile Section


Deborah Miller-Tuck — Manager
Chatmon Thomas – Lead Scientist
Purpose
 
The VOLATILE ORGANICS SECTION performs the analyses of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds in drinking water, wastewater, groundwater, hazardous wastes, soils, sediments, sludges, leachates, and in consumer products for possible tampering or adulteration. This laboratory also performs the analyses of haloacetic acids in drinking water. Analysis of multi-media samples is carried out using purge and trap introductory systems attached to capillary column gas chromatographs equipped with electron capture detectors (GC/ECD) or mass spectrometers (GC/MS).
 
Instrumentation
 
Analysis of multi-media samples is carried out using capillary column gas chromatographs equipped with mass spectrometers (GC/MS) and Purge and Strap (P/T) system.
 
·       Agilent GC_MS
·       Thermo GC-MS
·       Agilent GC-ECD
 

Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
(GC-MS) is a method that combines two techniques to form a single method of analyzing samples.
Gas-chromatography separates the elements of a sample while mass-spectrometry characterizes each element, making it possible to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze samples. The GC-MS is a system tailored to meet the rigorous demands for scientist in both routine analysis and research.
  
 
 
 
 
 
  Gas Chromatograph – Mass Spectrometer
 


The Purge and Trap is chromatographic sample introduction technique used to extract volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a solid or liquid matrix for testing within the GC system.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
                                                                Purge and Trap System (P/T)
 
 
Elements Routinely Analyzed
 
Test/Matrix
Container*
Sample Size
Preservation
Holding Time
Method
Drinking Water
Volatile Organics
2 Glass sample vials
Trip Blank (1/day)
Field Blank (1/sample)
40 mL
(No air bubbles/sediment/
particulates)
4° C, 1:1 HCl, pH<2 ascorbic acid
14 days
EPA 524.2  
Trihalomethanes
2 Glass sample vials
Trip Blank (1/day)
Field Blank (1/sample)
 40 mL
(No air bubbles/sediment/
particulates)
4° C, 1:1 HCl, pH<2, ascorbic acid  or sodium thiosulfate
14 days
EPA 524.2     .
Haloacetic acids
2 Glass sample amber bottles
Field Blank (1/sample)
60 mL
4° C, 6 mg NH4Cl
14 days
EPA 552.2
Wastewater
Volatile Organics
2 Glass vials
40 mL
4° C, 1:1 HCl, pH<2 ascorbic acid
14 days
EPA 624
Base Neutral/Acid extractable organics (semi-volatile organics)
2 Glass amber bottles
1 L
4° C
7 days
EPA 625  
Hazardous Wastes
Volatile Organics
2 Glass Vials
40 mL
4° C, 1:1 HCl, pH<2 ascorbic acid
14 days
EPA 8260
Volatile Organics
Glass jar (soil)
 
8 oz.
4° C
14 days
EPA 8260
Base Neutral/Acid extractable organics (semi-volatile organics)
2 Glass amber bottles  
 
1 L
       4° C
7 days
EPA 8270
Glass jar (soil)
 
8 oz
4° C
14 days
EPA 8270
 * Glass vials must have Teflon-lined septum caps; glass bottles must have Teflon-lined caps
   NA = not applicable
 
Potential Health Concerns and Environmental Effects
 
The health effects of volatile organic compounds vary according to the compound, ranging from being highly toxic to having no known health effects. Harmful VOCs are usually not acutely toxic, but can introduce long-term health effects. The effects will depend on the nature of the volatile organic compound, the level of exposure, and the duration of the exposure. Research into VOCs and their effects is difficult because low concentrations slow the development of symptoms.