A combined field and laboratory study was conducted to compare purge and trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (PT-GC/MS) and purgeable organic chloride (POCl) analysis for measuring volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons (VCH) in ground water. Distilled-water spike and recovery experiments using 10 VCH indicate that at concentrations greater than 1 ??g/l recovery is more than 80 percent for both methods with relative standard deviations of about 10 percent. Ground-water samples were collected from a site on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where a shallow unconfined aquifer has been contaminated by VCH, and were analyzed by both methods. Results for PT-GC/MS and POCl analysis of the ground-water samples were not significantly different (alpha = 0.05, paired t-test analysis) and indicated little bias between the two methods. Similar conclusions about concentrations and distributions of VCH in the ground-water contamination plume were drawn from the two data sets. However, only PT-GC/MS analysis identified the individual compounds present and determined their concentrations, which was necessary for toxicological and biogeochemical evaluation of the contaminated ground water. POCl analysis was a complimentary method for use with PT-GC/MS analysis for identifying samples with VCH concentrations below the detection limit or with high VCH concentrations that require dilution. Use of POCl as a complimentary monitoring method for PT-GC/MS can result in more efficient use of analytical resources.
Additional publication details
Comparison of purge and trap GC/MS and purgeable organic chloride analysis for monitoring volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons