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Jane Rothert and Chris Lehmann National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Central Analytical Laboratory, Illinois State Water Survey 2204 Griffith Dr.; Champaign, IL 61801 Email: cal@sws.uiuc.edu ; Phone: 217-244-0868; Internet: http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/CAL.

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how clean is clean

Jane Rothert and Chris Lehmann

National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Central Analytical Laboratory,Illinois State Water Survey

2204 Griffith Dr.; Champaign, IL 61801

Email: cal@sws.uiuc.edu; Phone: 217-244-0868; Internet: http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/CAL

The NADP Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL) has been providing clean sampling supplies for the NTN and AIRMoN for almost 30 years. As method detection limits (MDLs) have decreased, supplies once thought to be clean now have detectable contamination. Our supplies preparation staff want to know…. When is clean, clean enough?

Deionized Water Blanks

Description

Observations

Calcium

Ammonium

One deionized water (18 MΩ-cm or better) sample is taken weekly from the CAL’s sample preparation laboratory

Samples are collected in triple-rinsed 60 mL virgin high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles

Samples are not filtered before analysis

Concentration (mg/L)

Concentration (mg/L)

Deionized water blanks are consistently below both old and current MDLs.

The CAL’s deionized water is not a source of supply contamination.

old MDL = 0.009 mg/L

How Clean is Clean?

old MDL = 0.02 mg/L

current MDL = 0.003 mg/L

current MDL = 0.004 mg/L

1-Liter Shipping Bottle Blanks

The NTN uses 1-L HDPE bottles for precipitation sample shipping.

These bottles are washed with deionized water and reused.

Four supply blanks are prepared weekly from randomly-selected bottles. Solutions include:

  • 50 mL deionized water (data shown at right)
  • 150 mL deionized water
  • 50 mL CAL internal standard (FR25)
  • 150 mL CAL internal standard (FR25)

Solutions are left in the bottles for one week

Samples are not filtered before analysis

Calcium

Ammonium

The majority of shipping bottle blanks are below old and current MDLs.

In 2006, five shipping bottle blanks (< 10%) had elevated concentrations of calcium.

There is more scatter in shipping bottle blanks as compared to deionized source water.

NTN shipping bottles are not an appreciable source of potential sample contamination.

Concentration (mg/L)

Concentration (mg/L)

old MDL = 0.009 mg/L

old MDL = 0.02 mg/L

current MDL = 0.003 mg/L

current MDL = 0.004 mg/L

The majority of collector bucket blanks are below old MDLs.

Unfortunately, the majority of these blanks are above current MDLs for calcium and ammonium.

For nitrate and sulfate, the majority of blanks are below current MDLs.

The majority of blanks are below the 10th percentile of the 2002-2006 NTN data set for calcium, sulfate, and nitrate.

From 2001 through 2003, the majority of blanks were above the 10th percentile of the 2002-2006 NTN data set for ammonium. Since 2004, approximately 90% of blanks fell below the 10th percentile of the NTN data set.

The NTN & AIRMoN use 3.5 gallon HDPE buckets to collect precipitation samples. In the NTN, these buckets are exposed to field conditions for one week. Buckets are washed with deionized water at the CAL and reused.

Four blanks are prepared weekly from randomly-selected buckets. Solutions include:

Solutions are left in the buckets for one week

Samples are not filtered before analysis

Calcium

Ammonium

Concentration (mg/L)

10% of NTN samples below 0.035 mg/L

Concentration (mg/L)

old MDL = 0.02 mg/L

current MDL = 0.004 mg/L

Collector Bucket Blanks

10% of NTN samples below 0.027 mg/L

  • 50 mLdeionized water (data shown at right)
  • 150 mLdeionized water
  • 50 mL CAL internal standard (FR25)
  • 150 mL CAL internal standard (FR25)

current MDL = 0.003 mg/L

1% of NTN samples and old MDL = 0.009 mg/L

1% of NTN samples below < 0.004 mg/L

Sulfate

Conclusions

Nitrate

10% of NTN samples below 0.270 mg/L

The CAL’s deionized water and 1-L shipping bottles are not an appreciable source of sample contamination.

Since buckets are exposed to the environment, contamination levels are higher than those observed in the 1-L shipping bottles.

Contamination levels in collector buckets are consistently at or below the 10th percentile of the NTN data set as required in the CAL’s work plan.

Concentration (mg/L)

10% of NTN samples below 0.222 mg/L

Concentration (mg/L)

1% of NTN samples below 0.069 mg/L

1% of NTN samples below 0.056 mg/L

old MDL = 0.03 mg/L

old MDL = 0.03 mg/L

current MDL = 0.017 mg/L

current MDL = 0.010 mg/L

  • The NADP is National Research Support Project-3: A Long-Term Monitoring Program in Support of Research on the Effects of Atmospheric Chemical Deposition. More than 240 sponsors support the NADP, including State Agricultural Experiment Stations; universities; private companies and other nongovernmental organizations; Canadian government agencies; state, local, and tribal government organizations; and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (under agreement no. 2002-39138-11964). Any findings or conclusions in this poster do not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other NADP sponsors. The authors gratefully acknowledge the wondrous creative talent of Pam Bedient and her assistance in preparing this poster and Nichole Samson for taking the photographs (and washing all those buckets).

Acknowledgements