Better ‘tools’ for investigative monitoring under the Water Framework Directive

  • Anthony Gravell

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Current approaches to sampling and analysis are thought to be unsuitable for investigative monitoring under the auspices of the European Union’s Water Framework Directive. During this study, new sampling and analytical techniques were developed and tested that provide a ‘toolkit’ that can be utilised by most laboratories engaged in regulatory analysis of water samples. The techniques developed include;

i) Targeted screening methodology based on passive sampling in-conjunction with comprehensive two-dimensional chromatography mass spectrometry was developed and successfully applied to the broad-scope detection and determination of non-polar emerging pollutants and related contaminants in environmental waters. This method was found to be superior to existing approaches based on spot sampling and one dimensional gas chromatography.

ii) Modifications to the Chemcatcher® passive sampler to allow for the sampling of polar pollutants present in the water environment. Statistical analysis of the data obtained demonstrated that sampler performance was equivalent to that of the established POCIS passive sampler but with greater physical robustness together with simplified preparation and extraction procedures.

iii) Targeted screening methodology based on modifications to the existing Chemcatcher® passive sampler in-conjunction with liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry techniques for the identification of polar pharmaceutical residues present in the effluents of waste water treatment plants located in south west Wales. Identification of analytes was strengthened through the development, validation and application of a novel accurate mass data-independent acquisition method and the high degree of analyte identification assurance obtained confirmed it to be analogous to traditional collision-induced dissociation transitions.

iv) The targeted application was supplemented through the development and application of a novel in silico methodology for retention time prediction which was successfully used to identify additional compounds in an extract obtained from a Chemcatcher passive sampler, and, thus, the preliminary identification of potential emerging contaminants.

Overall, this work has furthered the knowledge and capability of the sampling and analysis of existing and newly emerging contaminants in environmental waters.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorGraham Mills (Supervisor) & Richard Greenwood (Supervisor)

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