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Marine Chemistry

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marine chemistry

In view of the unique challenges posed by marine chemistry, Eurofins has established a dedicated facility and analytical team for sediment and tissue testing. The marine chemistry facility occupies 10,000 square feet of modern laboratory and office space. Having a laboratory focused only on marine chemistry offers several advantages, including the establishment of a dedicated team of chemists and technicians familiar with the unique matrices and sample preparation protocols. It also enhances our ability to meet the turnaround time commitments so important to our clients, and upon which our reputation is built. The laboratory features:

  • A 940 cubic foot walk-in freezer capable of extended storage of more than 5,000 sediment and tissue samples at −20°C;

  • Two Agilent 7000 Series Triple Quadrupole GC/MS/MS systems providing robust GC/MS/MS technology for the analysis of organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, PAHs, and pyrethroids at trace levels in marine biota extracts;

  • Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) technology, a solventless alternative to conventional sample extraction techniques, to determine trace level determination of hydrophobic compounds in aqueous samples of limited volume (e.g. 10 milliliters), such as pore water;

  • Trace element analysis in seawater using matrix eliminating systems from PerkinElmer. This technique (EPA Method 1640) uses on-line chelation with preconcentration and hydride generation, along with Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to produce sub-ppb level detection limits.

Eurofins has supported dozens of marine chemistry studies and remedial programs over the past 15 years. The majority of marine chemistry testing is in support of dredging operations at major California Port facilities and marinas, but also include TMDL studies, sediment capping investigations, and pilot programs. Matrices have included sediments, surface waters, tissues, pore water, groundwater, and soils. Though most of the projects were located in our home state of California, samples have arrived from other states and overseas, including Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and Puerto Rico. Eurofins follows regulatory guidance and protocol established by US EPA, USACE, NOAA, Bight ’08, Bay Area DMMO, PSEP, and others. Eurofins is not only accredited by NELAC and DoD ELAP, but is also a participant in inter-laboratory comparison studies for sediment and storm water administered through the Southern California Coastal Water Research Program (SCCWRP).

The tests commonly performed for marine sediments and tissues include trace metals, TOC, petroleum hydrocarbons, sulfides, pesticides and PCBs, grain size, PAHs, Pyrethroids, and other semi-volatile compounds. Achieving the low reporting limits required for these parameters requires special sample cleanup/preparation procedures developed by Eurofins and incorporated into our SOPs. The low-level analysis of sediment, tissues, pore water, and elutriates also requires specialized instrumentation.

Elutriate testing is a bench-scale test designed to simulate and predict the water quality impacts from dredging or dredged material disposal. Dredging operations are routinely conducted in local ports and coastal areas and in inland waterways. These projects typically require planning and/or investigations to determine if water quality will be affected. Elutriate testing is an important component of the planning process.

A number of guidance documents and research papers include elutriate testing protocol. All documents were developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and in some cases, in concert with the U.S. EPA. These include:

The "Green Book"

Evaluations of Dredged Material Proposed for Ocean Disposal Testing Manual, 1991. 

The Inland Testing Manual

Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Discharge in Waters of the U.S. Testing Manual, 1998.

The Upland Testing Manual

Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Placement In Island, Nearshore, or Upland CDFs Testing Manual, 2003.

Dredging Elutriate Test (DRET) Development

DiGiano, Francis, et. al., 1995.

Eurofins has supported dredging and dredged material disposal projects over the years, and has assembled facilities and developed procedures for the following elutriate tests:

  • SET - Standard Elutriate Test (Open Water Disposal)
  • MET/EET - Modified Elutriate Test / Effluent Elutriate Test (Confined or Diked Disposal)
  • DRET - Dredging Elutriate Test (Point of Dredging)

Each of these procedures can be tailored to meet the specific objectives of a project. For any elutriate testing project, chemical analysis of the following sample sources is provided: site sediment, site water, and the elutriates including the filtered supernatant and unfiltered supernatant.

View our complete list of Marine Chemistry services