View all publications

Appendix G: Possible Analytical Methods

This appendix is not intended to prescribe the analytical methods that should be used. Other methods may be applicable. Note that any method can be used, provided it has been validated by the laboratory for the type of samples being analysed.

 


Table A8: Analytical methods, and their advantages and disadvantages

Parameter Extraction technique Instrumental method Advantages Disadvantages
Metals, general None X-ray fluorescence Gives true total metals Portable instruments can be used for field screening Cannot analyse elements with atomic mass < sodium (eg, boron, fluorine)
Total recoverable extraction (US EPA 200.2) Atomic absorption spectrometry   One element at a time, so may be slow turnaround
Graphite furnace AAS Low detection limits One element at a time, so may be slow turnaround
Inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrometry Multi-element  
Inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry Low detection limits; multi-element  
Chromium VI Phosphate buffer extraction; colorimetry Spectrophotometer    
Arsenic III   Hydride generation AAS    
SVOC Solvent extraction (sonication, ASE, SFE, tumbling, microwave-assisted extraction, etc) Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry Screening technique Not all peaks are calibrated
TPH Solvent extraction (sonication, ASE, SFE, etc.) Gas chromatography-flame ionisation detection Rapid screening technique Extraction can include compounds other than hydrocarbons (solvents, etc.) and method not suitable for volatiles
Combination of solvent extraction with purge and trap or headspace Gas chromatography-flame ionisation detection and gas chromatography – mass spectrometry Can include compounds down to C6  
VOC Methanol extraction Purge-and-trap gas chromatography – mass spectrometry Screening technique Not all peaks are calibrated
BTEX Methanol extraction Purge and trap gas chromatography – mass spectrometry    

Notes: AAS = Atomic absorption spectroscopy; ASE = Accelerated Solvent Extraction; SFE = Supercritical Fluid Extraction.