Basic Information

Abstract Number: 690 - 4
Author Name: Andrew Eaton - Eurofins Eaton Analytical Inc
Session Title: Water Quality and Environmental Issues
Event Type: Symposia
Event Title: The Evolution of Analytical Methods for Compliance Monitoring

Presider Name:Lauren Weinrich
Affiliation:American Water

Date: Monday, March 18, 2013
Start Time: 03:15 PM (Slot #4)
Location: 118C

Abstract Content

As interest in trace level contamination of drinking water has increased, there has been a trend towards more sophisticated analytical techniques for analysis. USEPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) has provided a demonstration of this. Each UCMR requires drinking water systems to monitor up to 30 analytes. In UCMR1 (2001-2005) all of the required methods were either previously approved drinking water methods or relatively simple IC methods (perchlorate). By UCMR3 (2013-16), 6 out of the 7 required methods are brand new or have extensive additional quality control elements to account for trace level measurements. In UCMR2 (2008-2012), there was one LC-MS-MS method and one GC-MS-MS method. In UCMR3, there are now two LC-MS-MS methods and a GC-MS-MS method. Reporting limits have dropped from ug/L levels to some in the sub ng/L range, leading to challenges not only for labs in controlling methods, but also for utilities not used to the need for sophisticated sample collection protocols. At the same time, the protocols for establishing precision and accuracy have become much more sophisticated, to ensure that results are reliable. This trend is very similar to the trend seen in chemical oceanography measurements for trace metals more than 30 years ago, when analytical methods and sample collection protocols were adopted for measurements in the ng/L range. The drinking water community and lab community can learn from the oceanographic experience. At the same time, the low levels of detection will lead to a significant increase in the frequency of detection of contaminants, even though they are well below the current levels of health concern. This will present not just analytical and sampling challenges, but also communication challenges for the public. We will review this evolution of analytical trends for drinking water and the implications for instrument vendors, labs, utilities, and the public.