Submitted to: Water Environment Federation
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2009
Publication Date: July 26, 2009
Citation: Andrade, N.A., Torrents, A., Mcconnell, L.L. 2009. Challenges in analysis of PBDEs in biosolids and soil samples. Water Environment Federation.
There is increased concern about the presence of organic chemicals in wastewater treatment plant effluents as many of these chemicals have been identified as endocrine disruptors. In this study we developed an analytical method for the determination of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in biosolids. PBDEs are used as additives in consumer products for their fire-retardant properties and it has been suggested that land application of biosolids could represent a significant source of these microconstituents onto the environment. In this study, a new methodology for sample processing and analysis was developed and compared to the recommended EPA method. The extraction method uses Teflon tubes, a vortex mixer, and a centrifuge. Our results show that the new developed extraction method presents more consistent recoveries and uses less solvent than EPA’s method. Different clean up processes for soil and biosolids samples are evaluated and compared with a recommendation of the EPA. A systematic analysis on clean up solvents and volumes will also be presented. Our quantification step utilizes a gas chromatograph (GC) coupled with a mass spectrometer (MS). To optimize the GC-MS methodology to PBDEs, we opted for a shorter column than the one suggested by the EPA method, so as to decrease the residence time of our compounds in the column and increase column’s life. Sample matrix interference seems to be the main factor in problems identified in the analyses of PBDEs. The method developed by our group presents a simpler, quicker, and more controllable method for the analysis of PBDEs. The GIS technology used to interpret the results obtained is one of the differential aspects of our methodology. Sampling sites were geolocated and recorded using a field GPS unit and this data was later incorporated with concentrations results. The spatial analysis of results was beneficial for identification of factors influencing concentration levels that otherwise would be hidden from the analysis.