Method 1631E – Ultra Low-Level Mercury in Water by Oxidation, Purge & Trap, and Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry

Feb 1

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2/1/2007 4:00 AM  RssIcon

Low Level Mercury EPA Method 1631E supports water quality monitoring programs authorized under the Clean Water Act (CWA). CWA Section 303 requires each state to set a water quality standard for each body of water within its boundaries. In some cases, these water quality criteria are as much as 280 times lower than those achievable using existing EPA methods. Therefore, EPA developed new sampling and analysis methods to specifically address state needs for measuring toxic metals at water quality criteria levels, when such measurements are necessary to protect designated uses in state water quality standards. The latest criteria published by EPA are those listed in the National Toxics Rule (58 FR 60848) and the Stay of Federal Water Quality Criteria for Metals (60 FR 22228). These rules include water quality criteria for 13 metals, and it is these criteria on which the new sampling and analysis methods are based. Method 1631 was specifically developed to provide reliable measurements of mercury at EPA WQC levels. In developing methods for determination of trace metals, EPA found that one of the greatest difficulties was precluding sample contamination during collection, transport, and analysis. The degree of difficulty, however, is highly dependent on the metal and site-specific conditions. This method is designed to preclude contamination in nearly all situations. It also contains procedures necessary to produce reliable results at the lowest ambient water quality criteria published by EPA. In recognition of the variety of situations to which this method may be applied, and in recognition of continuing technological advances, Method 1631 is performance based. Weck Laboratories employs the Leeman Labs Hydra AF Gold Plus to automate all aspects of the fluorescence-based measurement for EPA Method 1631E. This system combines the analytical capabilities of an advanced cold vapor atomic fluorescence analyzer with the ability to selectively pre-concentrate Hg using gold amalgamation to enhance detection limits. The instrument is operated in a HEPA filtered clean-room environment to insure against particulate contaminants.

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