Environmental Testing

Aquatic Sediments

LUEL is able to measure a variety of physical and chemical parameters on terrestrial soils and aquatic sediments including:

  • Pore water
  • Oven-dried weights
  • pH (soil to DDW ratio)
  • Conductivity
  • Extractable Phosphorous; Extractable metals (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn)
  • Total Nitrogen; Total Phosphorous
  • Total Mercury; Methylmercury

Interesting applications of this analysis:

  • Wetland sediment study investigating the phosphorous-uptake rate of wild rice as a means of remediation in a human-impacted eutrophic wetland
  • Identification of optimal soil conditions for the cultivation of blueberry plants as a possible reclamation tool for post harvest peatlands

You might be interested in this service if you:

Are investigating the properties of soils in natural or impacted areas

Where samples typically come from:

  • Lake and wetland sediments
  • Peatlands
  • Natural, pristine areas
  • Human-impacted areas of concern
  • How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample submission:
  • Sediment and soil samples are collected in plastic bags, double bagged, labeled and stored frozen until analysis

What happens to your samples after we receive them. Analytical Methods and Technical Information:

Soil samples:

Samples are defrosted, dried, crushed (if needed), and sieved

Sediment samples:

  • Samples are defrosted and homogenized before analysis as follows
  • Pore Water Extraction is done using centrifugation
  • Oven dried weight is determined after oven-drying and desiccation
  • Total Analysis is done using an aliquot of wet, homogenized sample and includes:
  • pH (soil to DDW ratio) and conductivity are measured potentiometrically in a supernatant liquid in equilibrium with a soil suspension
  • Extractable Phosphorus by ammonium fluoride extraction
  • Extractable metals (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn)
  • Mercury (total mercury and methylmercury)
  • Organic matter by Loss-On-Ignition (LOI): sample is ashed at 600C
  • Bulk density: weight of soil per unit volume (g/cc)
  • Extractable Ammonia by potassium chloride extraction
  • Total Phosphorus and Total Nitrogen (by acid digestion and colorimetric determination)

Contact

Johane Joncas, Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory
Phone: 807-343-8368
Email: jjoncas@lakeheadu.ca

Aquatic Toxicity (Single Concentration Test, LC 50)

ATRC Laboratory Services for website

  •  Aquatic toxicity (Single concentration test, LC 50)
  • Daphnia-Acute Lethality Water (48 hr) (EPS 1/RM/11, EPS 1/RM/14)
  • Trout LC50-Acute Lethality (96hr) (EPS 1/RM/9; EPS 1/RM/13)

You might be interested in the service if you:

  • are overseeing an environmental management unit at an industrial facility (a pulp and paper mill for example),
  • are responsible for ensuring your industrial facility is meeting Effluent Monitoring and Effluent Limits.

Where samples typically come from

Effluent generated from industrial facilities, including pulp and paper mills.

How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample submission

The laboratory provides pails and other materials for shipping samples, so clients are encouraged to contact us to coordinate with the lab.

Sample required

Twenty-five litres of sample is required for a single concentration test and eighty litres is required for determination of an LC50. One litre is required for Daphnia.

Packaging

Each client is provided with pail packages which consist of,

  • a 25L polypropylene plastic pail and lid,
  • a polyethylene bag,
  • a label,
  • an elastic band,
  • analysis requisition / chain of custody form,
  • 2 CUSTODY SEAL labels

 Sampling Instructions

  1. The polyethylene bag lines the polypropylene pail.
  2. The sample is collected by the appropriate sample collection method in the polyethylene lining
  3. Once sampling is complete, the excess air is removed from the bag and the bag is sealed closed with an elastic band.
  4. The pail is covered with the lid. Two custody seals (signed and dated) are placed across the lid to cover the lid and pail. The two seals should be at 180 degrees on each side of the pail.
  5. The label is completed and placed on the exterior of the pail.
  6. The sample is ready for shipment.

For the single concentration test of rainbow trout, or rainbow trout and Daphnia magna, the client is sent of pail package. For LC50 of rainbow trout and Daphnia magna the client is sent one set which consists of three or four pail packages.

Transport

It is desirable to keep samples refrigerated during transport. Samples may be transported at ambient temperatures provided ambient temperatures are greater than 1 C and less than 30 C, and that transport time is no longer than 2 days. If these conditions are not met, samples must be maintained in a temperature range of 1 C to 8 C during transport and storage. Do not allow samples to freeze.

What happens to your samples after we receive them. Analytical Methods and Technical Information.

We will first dilute the effluent in a tank with water, then we introduce the test organism to the tank. Trout are introduced  for 96 hours  and daphnia for 48 hours. During the test, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and other water characteristics are monitored and maintained. If more than 50% of the test organisms survive after the allotted time, the effluent would be considered within acceptable effluent limits.

Contact

Tyson Bouchard, Aquatic Toxicology Research Centre
Phone: 807-343-8179
Email: tbouchar@lakeheadu.ca

Barrier Remediation Technologies Testing, Contaminant Sources Tracing, Experimental and Computer Modelling of Water-Rock Reactions, Piezometers (Installation and Monitoring), & Mineralogical and Geochemical Characterization of Mine Waste Materials

Dr. Andrew Conly, Department of Geology
Phone: 807-343-8463 
Email: andrew.conly@lakeheadu.ca
Locations: Office CB4003; Labs CB2026 and CB2021A

Heavy Metal Contaminants in Soils, Fish Tissue, Plant, Berries

LUEL can detect the following heavy metals in soil and sediment samples:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Methylmercury

Interesting applications of this analysis:

  • Examining total mercury and methylmercury dynamics in peatlands under natural conditions and after peat harvesting
  • Identification of optimal soil conditions for the cultivation of blueberry plants as a possible reclamation tool for post harvest peatlands. Analysis detected elevated arsenic levels in certain areas that would cause phytotoxicity in blueberry or other plants.

You might be interested in this service if you:

Are investigating the heavy metal levels in soils occurring in natural or impacted areas

Where samples typically come from:

  • Potentially contaminated soils may occur at:
  • Old landfill sites (particularly those that accepted industrial wastes)
  • Old orchards that used insecticides containing arsenic as an active ingredient
  • Fields that had past applications of waste water or municipal sludge
  • Areas in or around mining waste piles and tailings
  • Industrial areas where chemicals may have been dumped on the ground
  • In areas downwind from industrial sites
  • Peatlands

How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample submission:

  • Terrestrial soils are usually dried (in oven <50C or air dried)
  • Sediment and soil samples are collected in plastic bags, double bagged, labeled and stored frozen until analysis

What happens to your samples after we receive them. Analytical Methods and Technical Information:

  • After being homogenized, samples undergo a digestion method specific to the heavy
  • metal(s) in question
  • Total Recoverable metals: acid digestion using hydrochloric acid and nitric acid
  • Mercury and/or methylmercury: samples undergo one of two digestion methods:
  • Digestion I is used for samples containing organic materials because the
  • process completely destroys all organic matter
  • Digestion II is used for geological materials because the process rapidly
  • and completely dissolves cinnabar (HgS), whereas Digestion I does so
  • more slowly
  • Extractable metals are measured using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission
  • spectroscopy (ICP-AES) using a Varian Vista Pro Radial analyzer
  • Mercury and methylmercury are measured in one of two ways modified from the following two EPA methods:
  • EPA 1630: Methyl Mercury in Water by Distillation, Aqueous Ethylation, Purge and Trap, and CVAFS
  • EPA 1631: Mercury in Water by Oxidation, Purge and Trap, and Cold Vapor
  • Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry

Contact

Johane Joncas, Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory
Phone: 807-343-8368
Email: jjoncas@lakeheadu.ca

Inorganic Analysis of Water Samples

Inorganic analysis of water samples to comply with federal and provincial monitoring
requirements

LUEL is able to measure a variety of inorganic parameters on water samples including:

  • pH, Conductivity, Alkalinity, Acidity, Hardness
  • Dissolved Organic and Inorganic Carbon [DOC, DIC]
  • Nitrogen and Phosphorus [ Total, Dissolved or Available]
  • Total suspended solids (TSS), Total dissolved solids (TDS)
  • Total or Dissolved Metals
  • Anions (fluoride, bromide, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, sulphate, phosphate, etc.)
  • Cations (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc.)
  • Cyanide [Total, Free, WAD]

Interesting applications of this analysis:

Samples have originated from a variety of university student research projects as well as from external clients

University research samples include:

  • Pit lake water
  • Groundwater sources
  • Tailing pond water from abandoned mining sites
  • Peatland water
  • Toxicity test water using Lemna minor
  • Bioaccumulation study water using Eleocharis sp. and Carex sp.
  • Mine-impacted lake water
  • Eutrophic wetland water
  • Experimental extract water high in sulphate
  • Experimental extract water with expected high mercury levels
  • Other water samples are collected from:
  • Discharge, Effluent water
  • Factory cooling water
  • Receiving water
  • Natural water

You might be interested in this service if you:

Are investigating aquatic habitats water quality, monitoring of water quality

Where samples typically come from:

  • Lake and wetlands
  • Peatlands
  • Natural, pristine areas
  • Human-impacted areas of concern (mine sites, discharge areas)

How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample submission:

For metal analysis:
  • Samples may be collected in plastic or glass bottles and preserved with environmental
  • grade nitric acid to pH<2
  • If left unpreserved, samples should be stored refrigerated and analyzed within 5 days
  • If boron analysis is required, glass containers CANNOT be used
For non-metal analysis:
  • Samples may be collected in glass or polyethylene sample bottles
  • Samples should be stored at 4C without preservative

What happens to your samples after we receive them. Analytical Methods and Technical Information:

  • If required, samples are filtered through a 0.45m filter before analysis
  • Conductivity is measured using an Accumet XL60 meter
  • pH, alkalinity and acidity are determined by titration using a Mettler Toledo DL53 titrator and autosampler
  • A 5ml aliquot of sample is analyzed using a Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph, an AS40
  • Automated sampler, an IonPac guard column and a IonPac analytical column
  • pH, Conductivity, Alkalinity, Acidity, Hardness
  • Dissolved Organic and Inorganic Carbon [DOC, DIC]; autoanalyser SKALAR with build
  • in UV digestion system.
  • Nitrogen and Phosphorus [ Total, Dissolved or Available]; autoanalyser SKALAR with
  • build in UV digestion and acid hydrolysis system.
  • Total suspended solids (TSS), Total dissolved solids (TDS); gravimetric measurement
  • Total or Dissolved Metals; Digestion for total metals and measurement done using ICP
  • Cations (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc.); measured using ICP
  • Cyanide [Total, Free, WAD]; autoanalyser SKALAR with build in UV digestion and
  • distillation system.

Materials Characterization

The Instrumentation Laboratory (LUIL) is equipped to analyze the composition and structure of a wide range of materials, enabling our staff to provide valuable information towards solving industrial problems. The laboratory offers testing services which are useful for determining the structure and composition of a wide range of substances. Complementary techniques including optical microscopy (particle structure and colour), SEM / EDS (elemental and particle structure), FTIR (polymers and organic) and XRD (phase analysis) are commonly used to analyze materials.

Materials Typically Analyzed

  • Combustion products, filtrates, precipitates, residues
  • Process chemicals
  • Metallurgical products and by-products
  • "High Tech" and strategic metals
  • Products and by-products of industrial mineral processing,
  • Building materials,
  • Deposits and contaminants,
  • Diamonds and gemstones,
  • Powders, coatings, films
  • Electronic plates and their parts; coatings
  • Metals, rust or other corrosion products
  • Organic/Inorganic deposits
  • Polymers

Integrated services we provide:

  • Deposit/contaminant analysis,
  • Identification of phase composition (qualitative or quantitative, the latter usually to within ±1%), subject to the availability of pure end members in the ICDD-PDF database,
  • Characterization of chemical composition (qualitative or quantitative),
  • Characterization of compositional in-homogeneity.

You might be interested in these services if you:

  • represent a chemical supply company requiring third-party testing,
  • are troubleshooting process problems in your industrial facility,
  • are an engineer overseeing reagent purchasing,
  • have discovered a mineral deposit.

Some clients' problems we've solved

  • A Canadian company found a white powder in a shipping container. We determined it wasn't a health threat, but merely a boron based detergent.
  • A company is working on developing new "recipes" for concrete that will be good for the environment. Using a high quality image (from the SEM), and the image analysis software  (Image Pro 7, Media Cybernetics), the various components of cement were characterized and the degree of hydration determined.
  • A prospector wanted to get a better understanding of the minerals found on his claim. Utilizing XRD and SEM we determined that the prospector had some minerals that could be of economic value.

How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample submission

Please contact the laboratory before sending or dropping off a sample. In many cases only a small sample is required (20 to 30 mg).

What happens to your sample after we receive it. Analytical Methods and Technical Information.

Depending on the nature and state of the sample submitted, we will prepare the sample for analysis. After the analytical techniques have been completed, we utilize a search/match program and our in-house materials scientist compiles a short report on the composition of your sample.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Francis Appoh, Manager
Email: fappoh@lakeheadu.ca
Phone: 807-343-8853

Mercury and Methylmercury (total) in Water, Tissue, Soil, Sediment, Hair, Plant and Vegetation

Interesting applications of this analysis:

  • Correlating fish tissue levels to hair sample levels to examine the amount of mercury consumed and retained by people in a mine-impacted area (point source)
  • Examining total mercury and methylmercury dynamics in peatlands under natural conditions and after peat harvesting
  • Monitoring levels of Hg, MeHg in natural water and food web

You might be interested in this service if you:

Would like to determine either total mercury or methylmercury (or both) in plant, fish tissue, biota, peat, sludge, sediment, soil, industrial samples.

Where samples typically come from:

  • Natural lakes and other habitats
  • Impacted areas (mine sites, forested areas, peatlands)

How you need to prepare the sample before submission. Instructions on sample
submission:

  • Biota, benthic, and fish tissues must be frozen before sending to the lab
  • Unfiltered water samples do not need to be frozen, are collected in glass bottles and preserved with hydrochloric acid

What happens to your samples after we receive them. Analytical Methods and Technical Information:

Samples are first treated with a BrCl solution to completely oxidize Hg species to inorganic Hg for Total, after which samples are introduced to the Hg system
Samples for Methylmercury are distilled and ethylated prior to being introduced to the MeHg system

Samples are analyzed using methods modified from the following two EPA methods:

  • EPA 1630: Methyl Mercury in Water by Distillation, Aqueous Ethylation, Purge and Trap, and CVAFS
  • EPA 1631: Mercury in Water by Oxidation, Purge and Trap, and Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry


Contact

Johane Joncas, Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory
Email: jjoncas@lakeheadu.ca
Phone: 807-343-8368