Developing a Consensus Test Method for Measuring Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Water Utilizing Headspace Analysis with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (Headspace GC/MS)

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Environmental Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by , J. Sebroski

Contact Information:; 412-413-4541


This presentation will discuss a consensus method that is being developed at ASTM D19 on Water to determine volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a variety of water matrices. The new ASTM method will be applicable to nearly all types of water samples, including ground and surface water, aqueous sludge, wastewater, effluents, and sediments. The method describes equilibrium-based static headspace using a cold trap for the analysis of VOCs in water by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). This method is applicable to quantitate a wide range of volatile organic compounds that have boiling points below 200 °C (e.g. US EPA Method 8260 compounds). The status of the ASTM method and specific analytical parameters for headspace and GC/MS will be presented. The method detection limits, initial precision and recovery and matrix spike duplicate data will be compared to the performance of US EPA Method 8260 to demonstrate that the new method can be used as a viable alternative to purge-and-trap GC/MS to measure VOCs in water.