A vacuum-operated pore-water extractor for estuarine and freshwater sediments

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Abstract

A vacuum-operated pore-water extractor for estuarine and freshwater sediments was developed and constructed from a fused-glass air stone attached with aquarium airline tubing to a 30 or 60 cc polypropylene syringe. Pore water is extracted by inserting the air stone into the sediment and creating a vacuum by retracting and bracing the syringe plunger. A hand-operated vacuum pump attached to a filtration flask was also evaluated as an alternative vacuum source. The volume and time to extract pore water varies with the number of devices and the sediment particle size. Extraction time is longer for fine sediments than for sandy sediments. Four liters of sediment generally yield between 500 and 1,500 mL of pore water. The sediment that surrounds and accumulates on the air stone acts as a filter, and, except for the first few milliliters, the collected pore water is clear. Because there is no exposure to air or avenue for escape, volatile compounds andin situ characteristics are retained in the extracted pore water.