Office of Research and Development Publications

Evaluating the precision of passive sampling methods using PRCs in the water column.


Joyce, A. AND R. Burgess. Evaluating the precision of passive sampling methods using PRCs in the water column. Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments. Ninth International Conference, New Orleans, LA, January 09 - 12, 2017.


This work investigates how using different PRC models (first order uptake, sampling rate, and diffusion model) in different states of equilibrium affect the measured Cfree concentrations and their precision for a suite of PCBs.


To assess these models, four different thicknesses of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) passive samplers were co-deployed for 28 days in the water column at three sites in New Bedford Harbor, MA, USA. Each sampler was pre-loaded with six PCB performance reference compounds (PRCs) to assess equilibrium status, such that the percent of PRC lost would range depending on PRC and LDPE thickness. These data allow subsequent Cfree comparisons to be made in two ways: (1) comparing Cfree derived from one thickness using different models and (2) comparing Cfree derived from the same model using different thicknesses of LDPE. Following the deployments, the percent of PRC lost ranged from 0-100%. As expected, fractional equilibrium decreased with increasing PRC molecular weight as well as sampler thickness. Overall, a total of 27 PCBs (log KOW ranging from 5.07 – 8.09) were measured at Cfree concentrations varying from 0.05 pg/L (PCB 206) to about 200 ng/L (PCB 28) on a single LDPE sampler. Relative standard deviations (RSDs) for total PCB measurements using the same thickness and varying model types range from 0.04-12% and increased with sampler thickness. Total PCB RSD for measurements using the same model and varying thickness ranged from: 6 – 30%. No RSD trends between models were observed but RSD did increase as Cfree decreased. These findings indicate that existing models yield precise and reproducible results when using LDPE and PRCs to measure Cfree.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 01/09/2017
Record Last Revised: 01/18/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335092