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Detailed Project Information for:
Field Tests of Nylon Screen Diffusion Samplers and Push Point Samplers for Detection of Metals in Sediment Pore Water

Project Status
Project Description:

The purpose of this study is to test the use of nylon-screen samplers and push-point samplers for characterization of metals in sediments. Tests will be performed in contrasting settings that include a river underlain by organic-rich sediments (Ashland, Massachusetts) and a stream and wetland area underlain by organic sediments, silts, and fine sands (Clinton, Massachusetts). Both sites are known to be contaminated with metals. Samples will be collected at shallow depths of 20 cm or less where aquatic organisms are most likely to be affected by contaminants. The results from this study will help provide a technical basis for developing guidance materials (not within the scope of this study) on the use passive samplers for collection of water samples for metals analysis.

Status of testing and/or field activities:


Results of testing and/or field activities:

The study concluded that both samplers were effective in collecting pore water samples and yielded similar results. The study also indicated wide variability in metals concentrations over short distances within the sediments.

A complete set of samples could be obtained in one day using the pushpoint sampler. The nylon screen diffusion sampler required two trips to the site--one to place the sampler and a second to retrieve it. Depending upon site conditions several or more days were required for the diffusion sampler to equilibrate. There were high bias concentrations of barium and zinc in both the laboratory test samples and the field samples for the diffusion sampler, which may indicate that it is not appropriate for these two analytes. Analyzing samples with high iron concentrations required sample dilution which raised the detection limits of all analytes for both samplers.


The report is available at the USGS website.

Project information available online?

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Primary Point of Contact Information
First Name: Dick
Last Name: Willey
Organization: U.S. EPA, Region 1
Phone: 617-918-1266
Email: willey.dick@epa.gov
Project information was last updated on September 22, 2005