Standardization of Polymeric Sampling for Measuring Freely Dissolved Organic Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment Porewater

2021 ESTCP Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration

There is substantial use of polymeric samplers for environmental monitoring, but their acceptance is limited by the lack of standard methods and commercial availability. Polymeric samplers can be directly inserted into saturated sediment in the laboratory or in the field to yield depth-discreet measures of freely dissolved organic contaminant concentrations present in sediment porewater.

Dr. Mandy Michalsen from the U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC) and her team led an ESTCP-funded project to

ER ESTCP POY 2021

demonstrate the use of standardized polymeric sampler procedures for quantifying freely dissolved organic contaminant concentrations in sediment porewater. Freely dissolved organic contaminant concentrations were measured in the laboratory using both static and continuously mixed methods. These polymeric samplers were demonstrated using a single, homogenized sediment sample containing both PAHs and PCBs and were validated by multiple laboratories under carefully controlled conditions to demonstrate method accuracy and reliability.

Standardization of polymeric sampling methods – coupled with documented method accuracy and reliability from the phased interlaboratory study – will dramatically improve regulatory acceptance of polymeric sampling. Full participation by four commercial laboratories and three academic laboratories met the minimum interlaboratory validation study requirement consistent with U.S. EPA SW846 method validation guidelines. These results lay the foundation to support DoD efforts to employ polymeric sampling and encourage remedial project managers to begin using this technology.

For these significant contributions, Dr. Michalsen and her team received the 2021 ESTCP Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration for their project titled Standardization of Polymeric Sampling for Measuring Freely Dissolved Organic Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment Porewater.

Project Team:

  • Mandy Michalsen – ERDC
  • Alan Kennedy – ERDC
  • Gui Lotufo – ERDC
  • Kristen Kerns – Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Alison Suess – Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Mingta Lin – Pyron Environmental
  • Marc Mills – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Matthew Lambert ­– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Danny Reible – Texas Tech University
  • Magdalena Rakowska – Texas Tech University
  • Adesewa Odetayo – Texas Tech University
  • Upal Ghosh – University of Maryland
  • Mandar Bokare – University of Maryland
  • Songjing Yan – University of Maryland
  • Philip Gschwend – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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