Chromatographic Analytical Chemistry (Aquatic And Atmospheric Samples)

Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry

, Volume 339, Issue 7, pp 516-527

First online:

Characterization of groundwater contaminants using dynamic thermal stripping and adsorption/thermal desorption-GC-MS

  • Suzanne LesageAffiliated withNational Water Research Institute, Environment Canada

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Alternate methods to the time consuming solvent extraction technique used in the characterization of groundwater contaminants were sought to reduce the analysis time and allow for automation. By adsorbing (ADS) groundwater samples on a quartz tube filled with graphitized charcoal (Carbotrap, Carbotrap C) and thermally desorbing it in a Envirochem Unacon 810 unit directly interfaced with a GC-MSD, it was possible to detect the major groundwater contaminants originating from several types of industrial landfills. Compounds such as aniline, dioxane, and phenols were measured simultaneously with minimal sample preparation. The results were compared to those obtained by dynamic thermal stripping (DTS) followed by GC-MS. These methods are much more cost effective than solvent extraction since they require only a few minutes of the analyst's time for the introduction of the sample. ADS was superior to DTS and solvent extraction for the analysis of water soluble compounds which are poorly extracted into solvents. DTS provided cleaner chromatograms and allowed for lower detection limit than ADS. The two techniques are therefore complementary.