AChemLab1 - Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission...

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Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy Determination of Metals in Thames River Sediment 2/c Anderson, 2/c Brockway, 2/c Harrison, 2/c Yahle, 2/c Zalewski, 2/c Miller, and 1/c Packard Department of Science, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut 06320-8101 The purpose of this experiment was to measure the concentrations of specific metals in the Thames River to determine if any environmental issues could arise from contamination. Sediments from various locations in the river were measured for metal concentrations using a combination of microwave digestion with nitric acid and Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectroscopy. The results and data suggest that sample 10 was the most contaminated and that more contamination is present upriver as opposed to downriver. The Thames River has no Class III level of contamination; however it does have significant Class II contamination that ought to be mitigated to prevent contamination from spreading downriver and environmental damages. This data is consistent with the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Seawolf Class Submarine Homeporting on the East Coast of the United States. The metals As, Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, V, and Zn will be measured for content to determine if Thames River sediments are contaminated. The presence of heavy metals is due to chemical leaching, water drainage and runoff, and urban or industrial wastewaters. 1 Level of contamination will be decided based on comparison between the results and the New England River Basin Commission classification for sediment pollution. The same results will be cross-referenced with previous Final Environmental Impact Statement sediment analyses for Seawolf Class Submarine Homeporting on East Coast of the United States. 2 From the results, scientists will be able to determine the locations of primary pollutants to research sources for mitigation purposes and to determine if further research and analysis is warranted. High metal concentrations in river sediments tend to 1 Analytical Methods, Spring 2010
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indicate upstream contamination sources. 1 The scientists will also be able to estimate any potential environmental impacts due to high levels of contamination. 3 It is important to be capable of analyzing sediments for pollutants, and to determine relationships between metals and variations from the normal expectencies. 1 Heavy sediment contamination with metals is a global concern. 4 Various analytical methods are used to determine metal concentration in sediments. In a report on the Abe River Basin in Portugal, atomic absorption spectroscopy using a double beam spectrophotometer was used for metal analysis through digestion. This process was followed by either the use of an air-acetylene flame or a nitrous-oxide acetylene flame depending on the element. 1 At the Clark Fort River in Montana, three processes were used over a two year span; flame atomic absorption spectroscopy, HF-HNO 3 -HCl microwave digestion, and inductively coupled argon plasma spectroscopy. 5
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