It’s one of my favorite times of the year – that time between Christmas and New Year’s Even when you can reflect back on the year to prepare for celebrating the start of a new one.
How familiar are you with naphthalene?
If you have ever used mothballs for storing clothing, you are pretty familiar with a compound known as naphthalene. If you are asking questions like “how would I know if I’ve used mothballs?” or “remind me, what do mothballs look like?” then you’ve never spent any significant time around them. If you had, you would vividly remember the smell that hits you like a brick and brings you to your knees.
With the prevalence of contaminants in wastewater today, it is important to have a method for properly extracting and quantifying those compounds, to allow our wastewater treatment plants to remove them during the treatment process, when and where they need to.
The U.S. EPA has written a number of methods for determining contaminants in wastewater – compounds from organophosphorus pesticides (Method 614.1) to organochlorine pesticides (Method 608.3) to chlorinated hydrocarbons (Method 612) have EPA-published methods for guidance. The method I want to focus on here is that for determining bases, neutrals and acids (Method 625.1) and I’m highlighting it because there’s been a change in how this method can be executed, which could have a significant impact on your laboratory. Curious about what I’m alluding to? Read on!
In honor of National Chemistry Week (which we look forward to celebrating during next week), today’s trivia question focuses on this year’s annual theme – Chemistry is Out of This World!
Have you ever spent the day walking through the woods, paused to take in the natural sights, smells and sounds of a babbling brook or flowing waterfall and thought….“I wonder how many pesticides are in that water?”
I recently experienced this when I escaped from the stress and chaos of real life to spend a day hiking through the woods. I mapped out my route, packed plenty of snacks and water, and tossed my camera (i.e. my iPhone which has a camera) into my backpack, and I was off. I wasn’t far into my hike before I heard the familiar rush of moving water. Excited at the thought of finding a natural stream or brook, I rushed toward the noise until I reached the edge of a bank that overlooked a flowing river. As I took in the breath-taking scenery, I found myself lost in thoughts like “I wonder how polluted this water is?” or “I bet there are pesticides in this water. Is it safe to drink?”
Just a reminder of last week’s post:
EPA Method 8270 outlines a method for extracting a quantifying a number of compounds, of which hexachlorocyclopentadiene is one. However, this compound can be difficult to recover. Why? (choose all that apply)
(a) It is photoreactive and decomposes when exposed to light
(b) It is chemically reactive and reacts with certain organic solvents
(c) It has a relatively high vapor pressure and evaporates a bit at room temperature
(d) It is susceptible to thermal degradation
(e) None of the above
Answer: a, b and d
If you selected a, b, c and d, you were close. Hexachlorocyclopentadiene is a relatively reactive compound which lends it to photo-induced, chemical-induced and thermal-induced reactions; however, it is not hard to recover due to evaporative losses. In fact, this compound has a relatively low vapor pressure and is unlikely to rapidly evaporate from standards and samples that are at room temperature.
Join us next week to Expand Your Horizon!