Development of a gas chromatographic technique for the analysis of some groundwater contaminants from fuel leaks and its application in a site-specific study
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This study focuses on the development of a Direct Aqueous Injection Gas Chromatographic method with Flame Ionization Detection (DAI-GC/FID) for the analysis of MTBE and TBA. The analytical method was then applied in a site specific study where MTBE contamination was evident. The method achieved detection limits of 1 ppm for MTBE and 0.1 ppm for TBA. The method showed good precision, accuracy and selectivity. The method was selected primarily for its ability to simultaneously analyze MTBE and TBA. The result of the site specific study showed the persistence of high concentrations of MTBE and TBA at the source of contamination, whilst concentrations at the adjacent primary school dropped to below detection limits as a result of rapid natural attenuation. It was found that an overall decrease in MTBE concentrations was met with an increase in TBA concentrations; which is a direct indication of MTBE degradation. Despite the fact that problematic MTBE concentrations persist at the source of contamination, limited evidence of the persistence of MTBE contamination was identified at the adjacent primary school. As such, MTBE health risks from existing pathways were found to be irrelevant for receptors at the adjacent school.