Determination of Emerging Contaminants in Wastewater Utilizing Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas-Chromatography Coupled with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

Author(s): Sarah Prebihalo1, Adrienne Brockman1, Jack Cochran1,2, Frank L. Dorman1,3

1. Pennsylvania State University, Forensic Science Program
2. Restek Corporation
3. Pennsylvania State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Published By: Journal of Chromatography A

Year of Publication: 2015


Abstract: An analytical method for identification of emerging contaminants of concern, such as pesticides and organohalogens has been developed and utilized for true discovery-based analysis. In order to achieve the level of sensitivity and selectivity necessary for detecting compounds in complex samples, comprehensive gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS) was utilized to analyze wastewater samples obtained from the Pennsylvania State University wastewater treatment facility (WWTF). Determination of emerging contaminants through a process of combining samples which represent “normal background” and comparing this to new samples was developed. Results show the presence of halogenated benzotriazoles in wastewater samples as well as soil samples from Pennsylvania State University agricultural fields. The trace levels of chlorinated benzotriazoles observed in the monitoring wells present on the property indicate likely environmental degradation of the chlorinated benzotriazoles. Preliminary investigation of environmental fate of the substituted benzotriazoles indicates their likely degradation into phenol; an Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) priority pollutant.