Application Note

MTBE and BTEX On-Site Rapid Screening of Contaminated Ground Water by Portable SPME-GC/MS Methodology

MTBE and BTEX on-site screening by SPME-GC/MS


Methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and the combination of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX), are routinely monitored in soil and ground water to determine whether petroleum contamination has occurred due to industrial runoff, or waste water effluent, in order to protect local tributaries and surrounding property1-2. For industrial environmental monitoring programs, the ability to quickly analyze samples taken from nearby ground and water sources is key to environmental protection. The ability to analyze samples at the source, without the need for fixed laboratory analysis, can result in significant time and cost savings, and in the case of a spill, can lead to improved response times.

Sampling using the Custodion® SPME syringe, with separation and analysis using the Torion® T-9 portable GC/MS, allows rapid and on-site sample extraction and analysis, and provides actionable results within minutes. Using the portable Torion T-9 GC/MS, informed decisions can be made in critical situations, and can optimize follow-up activities by providing the user with the appropriate information to determine which, and if, samples should be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory analysis. In addition, on-site sample collection, extraction and analysis, using SPME and the Torion T-9 GC/MS, minimizes target analyte losses, compared to traditional techniques that risk analyte loss during complex storage and transport conditions, therefore ensuring the integrity of critical and valuable samples.