USGS - science for a changing world

Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting Charleston South Carolina March 8-12,1999--Volume 2 of 3--Contamination of Hydrologic Systems and Related Ecosystems, Water-Resources Investigation Report 99-4018B

Table of Contents

Wastewater Analysis by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

By Gregory K. Brown, Steven D. Zaugg, and Larry B. Barber

This report is available in pdf format: pdfBrown .pdf


The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory and National Research Program have developed a custom analytical method for the determination of compounds typically found in domestic and industrial wastewater. The method was developed in response to increasing concern over the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals in wastewater on aquatic organisms. Compounds were isolated by continuous liquid-liquid extraction with methylene chloride and determined by capillary-column gas chromatography/mass spectrometry using selected-ion monitoring. The method focuses on the analysis of the alkylphenolethoxylate nonionic surfactant compounds that are persistent indicators of wastewater. Other compounds are representative of food additives, antioxidants, fire retardants, plasticizers, industrial solvents, disinfectants, fecal sterols, polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, and high-use domestic pesticides. The method detection limits range from 0.05 to 0.2 microgram per liter for single compounds and about 0.2 microgram per liter for the sum of the isomeric compounds, such as nonylphenol and nonylphenolethoxylates.

Table of Contents

USGS Home Water Land Resources Science Systems Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Environmental Health Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Aug-2015 15:15:54 EDT