National Water Quality Laboratory

Wednesday September 22, 2021

USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4098

Methods of Analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory — Determination of Moderate-Use Pesticides and Selected Degradates in Water by C-18 Solid-Phase Extraction and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

Mark W. Sandstrom, Max E. Stroppel, William T. Foreman, and Michael P. Schroeder


A method for the isolation and analysis of 21 parent pesticides and 20 pesticide degradates in natural-water samples is described. Water samples are filtered to remove suspended particulate matter and then are pumped through disposable solid-phase-extraction columns that contain octadecyl-bonded porous silica to extract the analytes. The columns are dried by using nitrogen gas, and adsorbed analytes are eluted with ethyl acetate. Extracted analytes are determined by capillary-column gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with selected-ion monitoring of three characteristic ions. The upper concentration limit is 2 micrograms per liter (µg/L) for most analytes. Single-operator method detection limits in reagent-water samples range from 0.00 1 to 0.057 µg/L. Validation data also are presented for 14 parent pesticides and 20 degradates that were determined to have greater bias or variability, or shorter holding times than the other compounds. The estimated maximum holding time for analytes in pesticide-grade water before extraction was 4 days. The estimated maximum holding time for analytes after extraction on the dry solid-phase-extraction columns was 7 days. An optional on-site extraction procedure allows for samples to be collected and processed at remote sites where it is difficult to ship samples to the laboratory within the recommended pre-extraction holding time. The method complements existing U.S. Geological Survey Method O-1126-95 (NWQL Schedules 2001 and 2010) by using identical sample preparation and comparable instrument analytical conditions so that sample extracts can be analyzed by either method to expand the range of analytes determined from one water sample.

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