Complete Fractionation of Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons Using Newly Developed EPH SPE Cartridges

Advances in Sample Preparation and Clean-up
Oral Presentation

Presented by A. Pavkovich
Prepared by J. Thomas, T. Sprenkle
Restek Corporation, 110 Benner Circle, Bellefonte, Pa, 16823, United States

Contact Information:; 814-353-1300


Due to its prominent use in the modern era, petroleum, in one form or another, is an ever-present commodity that surrounds us in our daily lives. From its primary use as a fuel in transportation, to its role as an essential feedstock for industry, or as an energy source for home heating, petroleum’s widespread use leads to instances of uncontrolled releases to the environment.

When an assessment of the affected soil or waters from a spill needs to be made, an effective and comprehensive analytical method should be available in order to make an appropriate decision about the nature of remediation required to ameliorate the situation and mitigate the hazardous nature of the contaminated areas. This is where the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection made a valuable contribution through their Method for Determination of Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH). Recognizing the utility of this method, other states followed the lead, such as New Jersey and Texas, and adopted their own versions based largely upon this work.

The ability to successfully execute such a method requires an SPE cartridge that can discern between two major classes of compounds and depends entirely upon the cartridge’s ability to cleanly fractionate the sample extract for subsequent GC analysis. Also critical in ensuring integrity in the analysis is the capability to provide a background free of interferences. The ability to effectively fractionate the sample is an intrinsic attribute of the silica combined with the moisture level of the finished cartridge, while the background is tied to the cleanliness and lack of leachable materials in the silica and the surfaces of the cartridge components.

This work explores the capabilities of a newly released product in the use of the aforementioned analytical methods.