Ammonia Testing

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Ammonia Testing Molecule

Ammonia is an odorous contaminant of concern for a wide variety of industrial and agricultural facilities including:

  • Landfills - a product of decomposition
  • Wastewater treatment plants - in untreated sewage
  • Composting operations - a product of both aerobic and anaerobic decomposition
  • Hog, dairy, and poultry farms - in animal waste

Ammonia CompoundSince ammonia is often used as a household glass & surface cleaner, most people are familiar with its odor. Its unique and pungent aroma can usually be detected by the human olfactory system at low ppmV concentrations. At higher ppmV concentrations, ammonia can cause serious health damage, irritating and/or burning nasal passages and lungs.

Collection of airborne ammonia may follow the OSHA ID-188 method, which uses sulfuric acid-coated Anasorb-747 (carbon bead) tubes and a personal sampling pump for collection. This form of sample collection is much easier and safer than the traditional collection technique of sulfuric acid solution impingers. Analysis may follow the OSHA-ID 164 analysis, which utilizes an ion-specific electrode (ISE) to detect ammonia.

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Air Sampling Equipment

  • Air sampling pump* capable of sampling at the desired flow rate/duration with the sampling medium in-line.
  • Airflow calibrator* - i.e. bubble meter, rotometer, Bios DryCal flow meter, etc.
  • Sorbent tube – Commercially available from SKC (catalog number 226-29), laboratory will provide upon request. Tubes may be stored at ambient temperature prior to use. After sampling, samples may be stored and shipped at ambient temperature to the laboratory.
  • Field blank - A field blank tube should be included in the sampling event. Field blanks should be subjected to exactly the same handling as the samples (open, seal, and transport), but no air is drawn through them.

* ALS Environmental does not provide this sampling equipment. Please contact your local equipment rental company or ask the laboratory for help finding vendors.

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Storage & Shipping Instructions

  • Carefully pack sample tubes and field blank in a cooler or small box. Be sure to include all pertinent information (sample identification, sampling date, time, sample volume, etc.) on the Chain of Custody form submitted with the samples.
  • Ship the cooler to the laboratory using an overnight courier service (FedEx, UPS, etc.). If unable to ship the samples back to the laboratory on the same day of sampling, store the samples in sealed containers away from any potential sources of contamination.
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Sampling Guide

If sampling pump is not received pre-calibrated:

Using an airflow calibrator, calibrate pump with representative media inline, following directions provided from the vendor. Request a calibration tube to be provided from the lab. (Please do not use a sample tube.)

  • Sampling Flow Rate: 0.10 - 0.50 L/min
  • Air Volume: 7.5 - 24L for ambient and indoor air
  • Sample Time: 15 minutes - 4 hours

If sampling pump is received pre-calibrated:

  1. Remove the sample tubes from the shipping container.
  2. Please DO NOT write/scratch any additional information on the tube.
  3. The airflow direction will be printed on the SKC tube in the form of a directional arrow. Ensure that the arrow points towards the pump.
  4. Clip both ends of the SKC tube to allow air flow to pass through the tube. Place the end of the tube into the tubing attached to the sampling pump, ensuring the arrow is still pointing towards the pump.
  5. Set up the sampling tube in the sampling location.
  6. Turn the pump on and note the starting time and date.
  7. If collecting a field blank, uncap the field blank tube on both ends to expose it to field conditions, and then immediately recap the tube with the red end caps provided. Place the field blank tube aside.
  8. Sample at a known flow rate for the recommended period of time.
  9. At the end of the sampling period, retrieve the sampler, turn the pump off and record the final sampling time.
  10. Recap all samples with the red end caps provided. Label the tubes with the sampling information (sample identification, sample date, etc.) by affixing a label to the outside of the tube and/or placing the tube inside a labeled, small Ziploc bag.



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Learn more about Air Testing...

Learn about Odor Testing...

Learn about Odor & Landfill Services...

View the Frequently Asked Questions...

View Air Sampling Instructions...