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Slideshow

Analysis of Water and Soil Samples using Portable Instruments

Tret Burdette
Tret Burdette
Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Chemistry Building, Room 400
Analytical Seminar

The Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) monitors and regulates harmful chemical contaminants in the environment in order to reduce the detrimental effects they have on people and the environment. In order to monitor these contaminants, specifically in water and/or soil, people are required to go to the location of interest and collect samples to bring back to a laboratory to be analyzed. This process requires samples to be stored and preserved prior to analysis. However, with advances in technology, smaller portable instruments could potentially be used to analyze water and soil samples directly in the field or sampling location. This could reduce the need to store field prior to analysis in the laboratories. Some examples of regulated contaminants that are routinely measured in soil and water are nitrate, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, and phosphate. The concentration of nitrate can be determined using a portable electrochemical probe and cyclic voltammetry. Similarly, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene concentrations can take advantage of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, another electrochemical technique. Lastly, phosphate can be analyzed and the concentration can be determined by using a portable spectrophotometer. These cheap, fast, and portable instruments can be beneficial in monitoring environmental contamination despite the disadvantage of lower sensitivity and selectivity.

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