Changes to EPA Method 625 – How do They Affect You?

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!

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5 Myths About Oil & Grease

If you were ever a fan of the show MythBusters, you can appreciate the hours I spent watching myths being confirmed or busted in the most entertaining ways. For me, this show was appealing because the scientific theory was used to design and test experiments to produce facts about interesting phenomena such as: humans use only 10% of their brains, a household vacuum cleaner can generate enough suction to lift a car into the air, or a goldfish’s memory is only 3 seconds long.

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Extraction of 1,4 Dioxane from Drinking Water

1,4 dioxane – sometimes referred to as just dioxane – has gotten a lot of press since the U.S. EPA added it to the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 3). It is a relatively common solvent in analytical laboratories; however, it also finds use as a stabilizer for manufacturing items such as shampoo, cosmetics and food additives. After the EPA deemed this compound “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” and found it in a number of groundwater sources across the U.S., 1,4 dioxane was added to the UCMR 3 list and is now a regulated, routinely monitored contaminant.

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SVOCs – Should I be Worried About Those?

If you’ve ever taken on a home renovation project and needed to purchase wall paint, you may have looked at “low VOC” or “no VOC” paint. Even if you don’t know what VOCs are, you are likely familiar with the terrible, headache-inducing smell that greets you when you pry the lid off a new can. Not only is the odor unpleasant, but the fumes are harmful when you breathe them in over a prolonged period of time.

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PFCs in the Antarctic

“Magical.”

If I had to use a single word to describe aquariums, it would be “magical.” Whether you’re a child or a child at heart (like me!), it is easy to get lost with the turtles, sea lions, eels, sharks and any other aquatic life you can imagine. The exhibits closely mimic the sights, sounds and smells of each aquatic environment – so closely, that you might think you’re out in the ocean or in the middle of the Antarctic.

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Fats, Oils and Grease, Oh My!

If you are unfamiliar with terms like “fatberg” and “FOG,” you might not realize the significance and environmental ramifications of this phenomenon. Your perspective will change if you look through recent news articles where fatbergs have blocked and damaged sewer systems in major cities.

Photo credit: Thames Water

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Solid Phase Extraction – Perceptions and Misconceptions

I was at a tradeshow the other day and overheard a conversation that stayed with me. The conversation was taking place between two colleagues who were reminiscing about their days in the college chemistry lab.

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Tuesday Trivia – July 31, 2018

It’s Tuesday again – ready to Expand Your Horizon?  For those who are joining us for the first time, every Tuesday is Trivia Tuesday where we test our wits on various topics.  We welcome all reasonable – as well as creative – guesses!

The Tuesday Trivia question for this week:

Imagine shrinking the Earth’s water supply down to 100 liters.  The volume of fresh, usable water would be roughly  _____(fill in the blank)_____ liters.

Keep an eye out for the answer next Tuesday …

 

Disks or Cartridges – Which Should I Use?

Has anyone been setting up their lab to prepare their samples via solid phase extraction and paused to consider whether you should be using SPE disks or SPE cartridges? Don’t be shy – I’ve asked this question on more than one occasion and it is a valid inquiry.  If you are familiar with SPE (check out one of my recent blogs if you need a refresher), you know that the chemistry involved in your application will be the same, as long as you are using the same media (or stationary phase).

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Tuesday Trivia – July 17, 2018 Answer

For those who saw last week’s Tuesday Trivia post, read on for the answer  you’ve been waiting for.

For those who are unfamiliar with these posts, every other Tuesday, a trivia question will be posted to allow us to test our wits and expand our horizons.

As a reminder, the question that was posed last week:  Cucumbers and _____(fill in the blank)_____ both consist of 95% water.

Answer:  JELLYFISH!

Believe it or not, jellyfish are basically a nervous system and a digestive system with tentacles. As they lack bones, blood, a heart, a brain and many other muscles and organs, they require water to survive and water currents to transport them.

For a jellyfish, water is a crucial component for their survival. While humans don’t require water for our daily movements and transport, it is crucial for our survival as well.  Click here to learn more.

Stay tuned for a new trivia question next week.  In the meantime, wrack your brain for your best trivia questions and send them to me in the comments section.  We’re eager to expand our horizons!