H. Craig1, G. Ferguson2, A. Markos2, A. Kusterbeck3, L. Shriver-Lake3, T. Jenkins4, and P. Thorne4, 1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, Oregon Operations Office, 811 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR, 97204, Phone: 503-326-3689, 2Black & Veatch Special Projects Corporation, 1201 Pacific Avenue, Suite 1100, Tacoma, WA, 98402-4301, Phone: 206-383-1436, 3Naval Research Laboratory, Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Code 6910, Washington, DC, 20375-5348, Phone: 202-404-6042, and 4U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH, 03755-1290, Phone: 603-646-4385

ABSTRACT A field demonstration was conducted to assess the performance of eight commercially-available and emerging colorimetric, immunoassay, and biosensor on-site analytical methods for explosives 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) in ground water and leachate at the Umatilla Army Depot Activity, Hermiston, Oregon and U.S. Naval Submarine Base, Bangor, Washington, Superfund sites. Ground water samples were analyzed by each of the on-site methods and results compared to laboratory analysis using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with EPA SW-846 Method 8330. The commercial methods evaluated include the EnSys, Inc., TNT and RDX colorimetric test kits (EPA SW-846 Methods 8515 and 8510) with a solid phase extraction (SPE) step, the DTECH/EM Science TNT and RDX immunoassay test kits (EPA SW-846 Methods 4050 and 4051), and the Ohmicron TNT immunoassay test kit. The emerging methods tested include the antibody-based Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Continuous Flow Immunosensor (CFI) for TNT and RDX, and the Fiber Optic Biosensor (FOB) for TNT. Accuracy of the on-site methods were evaluated using linear regression analysis and relative percent difference (RPD) comparison criteria. Over the range of conditions tested, the colorimetric methods for TNT and RDX showed the highest accuracy of the commercially-available methods, and the NRL CFI showed the highest accuracy of the emerging methods for TNT and RDX. The colorimetric method was selected for routine ground water monitoring at the Umatilla site, and further field testing on the NRL CFI and FOB biosensors will continue at both Superfund sites. The primary use for these analytical methods would be for influent and effluent monitoring for granular activated carbon (GAC) ground water and leachate treatment systems, which are projected to operate for a period of 10 to 30 years.

KEYWORDS: explosives, TNT, RDX, field analytical methods, ground water

This paper is from the Proceedings of the HSRC/WERC Joint Conference on the Environment, May 1996, published in hard copy and on the Web by the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center.

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