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Methods of analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory-Determination of semivolatile organic compounds in bottom sediment by solvent extraction, gel permeation chromatographic fractionation, and capillary-column gas chromatogr

November 1, 1996

A method for the determination of 79 semivolatile organic compounds (SOCs) and 4 surrogate compounds in soils and bottom sediment is described. The SOCs are extracted from bottom sediment by solvent extraction, followed by partial isolation using high-performance gel permeation chromatography (GPC). The SOCs then are qualitatively identified and quantitative concentrations determined by capillary-column gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). This method also is designed for an optional simultaneous isolation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine (OC) insecticides, including toxaphene. When OCs and PCBs are determined, an additional alumina- over-silica column chromatography step follows GPC cleanup, and quantitation is by dual capillary- column gas chromatography with electron-capture detection (GC/ECD). Bottom-sediment samples are centrifuged to remove excess water and extracted overnight with dichloromethane. The extract is concentrated, centrifuged, and then filtered through a 0.2-micrometer polytetrafluoro-ethylene syringe filter. Two aliquots of the sample extract then are quantitatively injected onto two polystyrene- divinylbenzene GPC columns connected in series. The SOCs are eluted with dichloromethane, a fraction containing the SOCs is collected, and some coextracted interferences, including elemental sulfur, are separated and discarded. The SOC-containing GPC fraction then is analyzed by GC/MS. When desired, a second aliquot from GPC is further processed for OCs and PCBs by combined alumina-over-silica column chromatography. The two fractions produced in this cleanup then are analyzed by GC/ECD. This report fully describes and is limited to the determination of SOCs by GC/MS.

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