A continuous active sampling method was compared to continuous passive and discrete sampling methods for the sampling of trace organic compounds (TOCs) in water. Results from each method are compared and contrasted in order to provide information for future investigators to use while selecting appropriate sampling methods for their research. The continuous low-level aquatic monitoring (CLAM) sampler (C.I.Agent® Storm-Water Solutions) is a submersible, low flow-rate sampler, that continuously draws water through solid-phase extraction media. CLAM samplers were deployed at two wastewater-dominated stream field sites in conjunction with the deployment of polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and the collection of discrete (grab) water samples. All samples were analyzed for a suite of 69 TOCs. The CLAM and POCIS samples represent time-integrated samples that accumulate the TOCs present in the water over the deployment period (19–23 h for CLAM and 29 days for POCIS); the discrete samples represent only the TOCs present in the water at the time and place of sampling. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling and cluster analysis were used to examine patterns in both TOC detections and relative concentrations between the three sampling methods. A greater number of TOCs were detected in the CLAM samples than in corresponding discrete and POCIS samples, but TOC concentrations in the CLAM samples were significantly lower than in the discrete and (or) POCIS samples. Thirteen TOCs of varying polarity were detected by all of the three methods. TOC detections and concentrations obtained by the three sampling methods, however, are dependent on multiple factors. This study found that stream discharge, constituent loading, and compound type all affected TOC concentrations detected by each method. In addition, TOC detections and concentrations were affected by the reporting limits, bias, recovery, and performance of each method.
Additional publication details
Sampling trace organic compounds in water: a comparison of a continuous active sampler to continuous passive and discrete sampling methods