Click on a blue shaded room in the image above to view more information about how it works.
In the Semi-Volatiles Analysis lab, scientists analyze samples for semi-volatile organic compounds such as pesticides and herbicides, and compounds found in plastics, shampoos and oils. The lab monitors about 200 compounds that are known or suspected to be harmful. Results from these analyses help determine pollution loading to regional waterways and helps investigators identify potential pollution sources so they can be addressed and controlled.
In this lab:
In the Organics Prep/Extraction lab, scientists prepare water and soil samples for semi-volatile gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis. Among the many chemicals of interest are polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The City is required to monitor these chemicals of concern in stormwater, sediments, and industrial discharges.
In the Conventionals Analysis lab, scientists perform over 30 different analyses that provide key information about water quality and soil composition. Information about turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrient content are important indicators scientists use to monitor and assess water quality. Scientists also test for the presence of cyanide, oil and grease, and biochemical oxygen demand, in municipal and industrial discharges.
Soil and sediment samples from a variety of environmental sampling projects are processed in this laboratory. Specialized equipment is used to dry, grind, sieve, and mill samples to produce highly homogenized aliquots. Sophisticated microwave technology is used to extract toxic organic chemicals from soils and sediments. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrumentation is used to rapidly identify and quantify arsenic and lead in soils.
After samples are received they are stored in a cooler until they are processed. This is important in order to obtain accurate analytical results for the sample.
In the Volatile Organics Analysis lab, scientists study and analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in samples. VOCs are chemicals that volatilize (or evaporate) when they are exposed to air, and can affect our health and the environment. These compounds are found in a variety of everyday products, from dry erase markers, cosmetics and perfumes to industrial and construction materials. VOCs can remain in groundwater until they biodegrade. VOCs migrate with the groundwater and can enter drinking water wells.