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Archive for the ‘Metals Testing’ Category

Sample Containers & Preservation for Mercury Analysis in Waters

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By Tim Crowther, Regional Client Services Manager, ALS Environmental – Canada

**NOTE: The content in this article does not apply to ALS Environmental’s USA locations.**

On August 15, 2013, ALS Canada will begin supplying our clients with borosilicate glass containers with Teflon® lined caps for the collection of total and dissolved mercury in all water samples. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) preservative will also be supplied. Recent literature and ALS experimental test results indicate a glass container with HCl preservation is the most effective method for reducing mercury losses following sample collection. The sample bottle and preservative pictured overpage will be the recommended container for low-level total and dissolved mercury (≥10 ng/L), which were previously collected in a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) ‘plastic’ bottle with nitric acid preservation. HDPE containers are not suitable for ultra-trace level (0.2 – 10 ng/L) mercury analysis. Ultra-trace mercury sampling requires more sample volume, as well as the use of cleaner sample handling and analysis procedures.

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment (BC MoE) will require the use of Teflon® or borosilicate glass containers with HCl preservation for the collection of water samples for mercury analysis effective November 15, 2013. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment have already prescribed the same. Various other agencies are considering similar changes, including the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and Alberta Environment.

Additionally, ALS recommends that filtration for dissolved mercury analysis be conducted within one hour of sample collection using a suitable in-line filter or 0.45 μm syringe filter supplied by ALS.

Read more about Sample Containers & Preservation for Mercury Analysis in Waters…

EPA Initiating Rule to Reduce Mercury from Dental Offices

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

EPA Initiating Rule to Reduce Mercury from Dental OfficesRecently, the EPA announced it intends to propose a rule to reduce mercury waste from dental offices. Mercury is a concern to human health because it is considered a persistent bioaccumulative toxic element.

According to the EPA, dental amalgams, or fillings containing mercury, account for 3.7 tons of mercury discharged into US waterways each year.

Read more about Reducing Mercury from Dental Offices

Lead Paint: The EPA’s New Rule

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

By Steve Wing

Lead Paint The EPA's New Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, issued in 2008, was to take formal (enforceable) effect on April 22, 2010. However, due to difficulties with compliance, the EPA has extended this deadline to December 30, 2010.

This rule mandates a number of specific practices for contractors to mitigate the health hazards associated with disturbance of lead-based painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities, and schools constructed prior to 1978.1 Under this rule, all contractors in the U.S. conducting work on lead-based painted surfaces are required to be EPA certified and to follow specified work practices for preparation, clean-up, and record keeping. Painters, plumbers, electrical workers, general contractors, and a miscellany of other service providers will be affected. The rule applies to the disturbance of lead-based painted interior surfaces of six or more square feet and exterior surfaces of 20 square feet or more. Guidelines are also provided for window replacement and demolition in such facilities and homes. Under the statute, contractors not in compliance could be fined as much as $37,500 a day.2

Read more about EPA’s lead paint rule…

Deionized vs. Distilled Water

Monday, July 12th, 2010

By Gregory Salata, Ph.D., Kelso, WA

Deionized vs. Distilled Water

Many sampling programs include collection and analysis of an equipment blank to ensure there is no contribution of contaminants from the sampling equipment and associated process. To establish that sample collection procedures are contaminant free, an equipment blank is often collected. Equipment blanks are collected by passing water through the sample collection apparatus or utensil and collecting the water into the appropriate containers. To ensure that the water itself is contaminant free, the laboratory will supply the field crew with deionized (DI) water.

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Sequential Extraction Procedure

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

By Pradeep Divvela, Project Chemist, Kelso, WA

ShakerSequential extraction is an analytical process that chemically leaches metals out of soil, sediment and sludge samples. The purpose of sequential “selective” extraction is to mimic the release of the selective metals into solution under various environmental conditions.

One commonly used sequential extraction procedure is designed to partition different trace metals based on their chemical nature.

The sequential extraction process is typically accomplished in four (4) steps using:

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Ultra-Trace Arsenic Speciation at Columbia Analytical

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Arsenic Speciation

Ultra-trace speciation of arsenic and other metals is performed using a variety of techniques tailored to the specific combination of species, matrix, and detection limits required. Currently, two analytical systems are applied: Ion Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS) and Hydride Generation-Cryogenic Gas Chromatography-Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (HG-CGC-AAS). Each of these techniques has particular strengths that can be exploited depending upon the scientific question being asked. These techniques are combined with specific extraction techniques in order to maximize speciation integrity and data quality.

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Treatability Study for Heavy Metal Removal from Mine Water

Sunday, July 4th, 2004


Introduction: Historical mining practices in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin (Idaho) have resulted in heavy metal contamination of soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater. Canyon Creek, located in the upper basin, has elevated levels of dissolved zinc (average concentration ~ 3,000 μg/L), dissolved cadmium (average concentration ~ 22 μg/ L), and total lead (average concentration ~ 174 μg/L). Heavy metal loading near the mouth of Canyon Creek is influenced by surface water/groundwater interactions. Dissolved zinc concentrations in the groundwater have been detected in the 100,000 μg/L range while dissolved cadmium and lead have been detected in the hundreds to thousands μg/L ranges, respectively.

EPA’s consultant, URS Corporation (URS), developed a multi-phase treatability study to obtain quantitative information on a treatment process to effectively remove metals from the water of Canyon Creek. The treatment process incorporated different combinations of pH adjustment, chemical coagulation and coprecipitation, polymer flocculent additions, and additions of ballasted micro-sand to improve sludge settling. The results of the study will be used to help evaluate potential treatment technologies for surface water and/or groundwater at Canyon Creek. These data will also be used to help develop the pilotscale treatability study for Phase II of the study.

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