Passive and Field Sampling

Science Center Objects

CERC scientists in the Environmental Chemistry Branch are pioneers in the development of passive sampling techniques. Samplers available include: SPMDs (hydrophobic organics in water and air), POCIS (hydrophilic organics in water), stabilized liquid membrane devices (SLMDs), peepers, and diffusion gradients in thin films (DGT). We also have experience modifying existing technologies for specific needs and are working on designing sensor technologies for real-time measurements of environmental contaminants.  

Large Volume Water Sampling

Large Volume Water Sampling
Sampling large volumes of water (up to 100 liters) can be a difficult task with limited commercially-available options. Our scientists adapted available equipment into a field-based sampler which can be customized to sample broad chemical suites or specific chemicals of interest.  These sample extracts can be used for a variety of chemical and biological testing, including effects directed analysis (EDA) to potentially determine the biologically-active chemicals present in a complex environmental sample.





Biota, Soils and Sediment Sampling
Sampling of biota, soils, and sediments can be challenging in obtaining both a representative sample and sufficient sample size to meet method requirements.  Our scientists have experience in collecting a wide range of samples from varied environmental settings.

Biota, Soils and Sediment Sampling

Atmospheric Deposition
Atmospheric transport and deposition processes (rain, snow, wind-blown dust) play significant roles in the spread of contaminants. Dual cation-anion exchange samplers have been developed to collect airborne sulfur, nitrogen, and metals.  These samplers have been used in remote regions of northern Alaska in conjunction with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program.

Atmospheric deposition - passive samplers

Aquatic contaminants flux between the sediment and overlying surface water via the interstitial sediment porewater resulting in highly concentrated contaminants in porewater compared to surface water. We have experience with passive diffusion samplers (peepers and diffusion gradients in thin films) and active suction samplers (push-points), and centrifugation techniques to evaluate porewater concentrations in both the field and laboratory.

porewater sampling

Metals Sampling at the Sediment-Surface Water Interface
Stabilized liquid membrane devices (SLMDs) are deployed at the sediment-water interface to sequester metals fluxing between the porewater and surface water, which may impact biota living in this zone.  


Read more about passive sampling using SPMDs and POCIS

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