Investigations at Pinal Creek, Arizona, evaluated routine sampling procedures for determination of aqueous inorganic geochemistry and assessment of contaminant transport by colloidal mobility. Sampling variables included pump type and flow rate, collection under air or nitrogen, and filter pore diameter. During well purging and sample collection, suspended particle size and number as well as dissolved oxygen, temperature, specific conductance, pH, and redox potential were monitored. Laboratory analyses of both unfiltered samples and the filtrates were performed by inductively coupled argon plasma, atomic absorption with graphite furnace, and ion chromatography. Scanning electron microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray was also used for analysis of filter particulates. Suspended particle counts consistently required approximately twice as long as the other field-monitored indicators to stabilize. High-flow-rate pumps entrained normally nonmobile particles. Difference in elemental concentrations using different filter-pore sizes were generally not large with only two wells having differences greater than 10 percent in most wells. Similar differences (>10%) were observed for some wells when samples were collected under nitrogen rather than in air. Fe2+/Fe3+ ratios for air-collected samples were smaller than for samples collected under a nitrogen atmosphere, reflecting sampling-induced oxidation.
Additional publication details
Colloidal-facilitated transport of inorganic contaminants in ground water: part 1, sampling considerations