Element’s ecological experts perform analysis of water for organic compounds, to help environmental consultants test surface water and oilfield sites for organics in water. 

Types of organics in water

The types of organic matter in water can be very diverse and may be present in suspension or a colloidal or true solution. Organics in water can come from vegetable matter, run-off from fields, domestic and industrial wastes:

  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand - Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is an indirect measure of biodegradable organic compounds in water. 
  • Nutrients - Nutrients are chemical elements or compounds essential for plant and animal growth. Nutrient parameters include ammonia, organic nitrogen, Kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, and total phosphorus. 
  • Organic Carbon - Most organic carbon in water occurs as partly degraded plant and animal materials, some of which are resistant to microbial degradation. 
  • Oil & Grease - Oil and Grease constitutes one of the most common parameters for quantifying organics from human sources. These tend to be from illegal dumping into storm sewers, motorboats, oil spills, and discharge from oil production platforms in the bay.

How to measure organic matter in water

Organics in water is tested by the Total Organic Content (TOC), the sum of particulate and Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), also known as humic substances or refractory organic substances. Quantifying organic matter remains a challenge due to its complex nature and variability from source to source. 

Elements experts can detect natural organic matter through many advanced spectroscopic, chromatographic, and mass spectrometric means.

For routine, non-selective monitoring, our experts typically rely on quantifying organic carbon content (i.e., measuring total or dissolved organic carbon), estimating hydrophobicity using specific UV absorbance, and identifying oxidation potential using photoelectrochemical chemical oxygen demand.

For more information on organics testing in water, please get in touch with our experts today. 

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