On-site gas chromatographic determination of explosives in soils



On-site determination of nitroaromatic and nitramine residues in soils was performed using a field-portable gas chromatograph (GC) equipped with a thermionic ionization detector selective for compounds with nitro functional groups. Soil samples were extracted with acetone. A 1-μl volume of the filtered extract was manually injected into the GC, allowing for the rapid determination of the suite of explosives that often coexist in explosives-contaminated soils at military training facilities and other defense-related sites. Good agreement was established for the concentrations of several explosives when results obtained using this method of analysis were compared with those from either high-performance liquid chromatography (Method 8330) or GC electron capture (Method 8095) analysis. Comparisons were performed for sample extracts and for soil subsample replicates distributed for on-site analysis during a field verification test performed under the auspices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Technology Verification Program. This on-site GC method for the determination of explosives residues in soils is well suited for dynamic site characterization activities. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Field Analyt Chem Technol 5: 228–238, 2001