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Chemistry Laboratory



Photos of Water.

Contaminated drinking water has been one of the most serious public health threats since the beginning of time. The Delaware Public Health Laboratory is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act to evaluate inorganic and organic chemicals in drinking water from public supplies for compliance purposes. Environmental Laboratory also evaluates drinking water from private supplies from citizens that purchase a testing kit. The Environmental Laboratory section performs analysis for over 140 chemical pollutants this includes Volatile Organic Compounds, Disinfection By-Products, Trace Metals, Mercury, Anions, Routine Metals, Alkanlinity, Total Dissolved Solids, and Conductivity.

Drinking Water Tests at the Delaware Public Health Laboratory


Inorganics

The Inorganics Analytical Laboratory provides testing for both primary and secondary contaminants that could be present in drinking water which help determine the suitability of drinking water for human consumption. The Environmental Laboratory has various instruments to perform the analysis of the chemical testing, see list below. These instruments require proper calibration, quality control verifications, and troubleshooting experience to properly analyze samples according to the EPA and Standard Methods.

Thermo Scientific HPIC
Thermo Scientific HPIC (Intergrion)
Instrumentation

  • Metrohm Titrator
  • Shimadzu Atomic Absorbance Spectrophotometer (AA 7000)
  • Perkin Elmer Atomic Absorbance Spectrophotometer (AAnalyst 400)
  • Nippon Mercury Analyzer (RA-4300A)
  • Perkin Elmer FIMS 100
  • Perkin Elmer (NexION 350X)
  • Thermo Scientific (IC-5000 &Integrion)

Organics

The Organics Analytical Laboratory provides testing for primary, regulated and unregulated contaminates in drinking water that could potentially be a health risk for humans if consumed. The Environmental Laboratory has various instruments to perform the analysis of the chemical testing, see list below. These instruments require proper calibration, quality control verifications, and troubleshooting experience to properly analyze samples according to the EPA and Standard Methods.

Instrumentation

  • Agilent GC/MS
  • Agilent GC/ECD

Photos of Intrument

Gas spectrometry-mass spectrometry (GCMS) is a combination of both the process of GC and MS. Its purpose is to separate the chemical elements of a certain compound and identify the molecular level component. In the process, the mixture will be heated in order to separate the elements. Once it vaporizes, it passes through the column carried by an inert gas, usually helium. It then proceeds to the mass spectrometry process, where it is separated and its components identified by the mass of the compound. (Cited for definition and provides more information on GC/MS)

Photos of Intrument

The electron capture detector (ECD) is used for detecting electron-absorbing components (high electronegativity) such as halogenated compounds in the output stream of a gas chromatograph (GC). The ECD uses a radioactive beta particle (electron) emitter in conjunction with a so-called makeup gas flowing through the detector chamber. The electron emitter typically consists of a metal foil holding 10 millicuries (370 MBq) of the radionuclide 63Ni (nickel). Electrons from the electron emitter collide with the molecules of the makeup gas, resulting in many more free electrons. The electrons are accelerated towards a positively charged anode, generating a current. As the sample is carried into the detector by the carrier gas, electron-absorbing analyte molecules capture electrons and thereby reduce the current between the collector anode and a cathode (There is therefore always a background signal present in the chromatogram). The analyte concentration is thus proportional to the degree of electron capture. ECD detectors are particularly sensitive to halogens, organometallic compounds, nitriles, or nitro compounds. (Cited for definition and provides more information on GC/ECD)


Approved Drinking Water Analytical Methods | Methods Approved to Analyze Drinking Water Samples to Ensure Compliance with Regulations | US EPA

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations including Maximum Contaminant Levels | Ground Water and Drinking Water | US EPA

Safe Drinking Water Search for the State of Delaware

Types of Drinking Water Contaminants | Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) and Regulatory Determination | US EPA

Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems | US EPA


More information about drinking water testing

Public Water Supply

Private Well Owners

Drinking Water Public Notices

Private Drinking Water Forms


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