Varying matrix effects for elemental analysis identified from groundwater in the Barnett Shale

  • D. D. CarltonJr.
  • B. E. Fontenot
  • Z. L. Hildenbrand
  • T. M. Davis
  • J. L. Walton
  • K. A. SchugEmail author
Original Paper


The quality of analytical measurements can be influenced by the matrix of the sample of interest. The knowledge of the sample matrix allows for appropriate sample preparation, instrumental parameters, and quantification methods in an effort to achieve accurate results. Matrix matching can be difficult when sampling across various water sources with the possible introduction of unknown endogenous contaminants due to various degrees of land use, urbanization, and energy exploration, likely playing a factor. The degree of matrix effects in inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy for nineteen metals from twenty groundwater samples across North Texas was assessed using a standard addition method. Matrix effects were characterized in collected groundwater samples (a) with no pretreatment, (b) after reversed-phase solid-phase extraction of possible organic contaminants, and (c) for a matrix of organic material retained on the reversed-phase sorbent. It was found that without any extraction treatment, only 54 % of all measurements experienced no matrix effect. After extracting unknown organic sample constituents, an increase to 74 % of measurements showing no matrix effect was recorded. Reconstituting the extracted organic sample matrix found this fraction to be a significant source of the deviated results with only 13 % experiencing no matrix effect. Results for the metals investigated are also discussed, along with correlations to water quality parameters such as turbidity, total dissolved solids, and salinity.


Inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy Solid-phase extraction Sample preparation Unconventional drilling 



Funds used to support this study were from the unrestricted and unrelated Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry Award to the corresponding author from Eli Lilly and Company. We wish to thank the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington for the use of the ICP-OES instrumentation. With greatest importance, we continue to thank the participating well owners for their contributions to this research and others that have culminated through time.

Supplementary material

13762_2015_803_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. D. CarltonJr.
    • 1
  • B. E. Fontenot
    • 2
    • 5
  • Z. L. Hildenbrand
    • 3
  • T. M. Davis
    • 1
  • J. L. Walton
    • 4
  • K. A. Schug
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Independent ConsultantArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Inform Environmental LLCDallasUSA
  4. 4.SWCA Environmental ConsultantsArlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Water Quality Protection DivisionUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyDallasUSA

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