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Student Spotlight

Ph.D. Student Profile: Jay L. Clausen, PG, CPG

Degree: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
Environmental Research Group

Research Topic: Modifications to Sample Collection and Processing Procedures for Soil Containing Metal Particulates

Advisor: Dr. Kevin Gardner

Jay Clausen
Description of Research

The proposed dissertation will assess modifications to field sampling and sample processing procedures to obtain a representative sample for soils containing metal particulates. The field issues to be studied include the need for multi-increment samples versus the traditional grab/discrete sampling approach. If multi-increment sampling is warranted, the optimum number of increments per sample will be determined. Sample processing issues to be studied include 1) the appropriateness of field splitting to reduce the sample volume sent to the analytical laboratory, 2) identification of the appropriate soil size class for analysis, 3) the necessity of machining/grinding of the soil sample to increase the number of contaminant particles in the sample to reduce heterogeneity effects, 4) the appropriate type of grinding apparatus, 5) the appropriate grinding interval, 6) assessment of the need to increase the digested mass and digestion interval, 7) the optimum soil to acid ratio, i.e. digestion efficiency, 8) the need for subsampling to build the digestate sample, e.g.  multi-increment, sectorial splitting, 1-D or 2-D Japanese Slab Cake, and 9) the necessity for specific digestion procedures for those metals with poor recovery with the existing USEPA Method, e.g. antimony, tungsten. The optimum field sampling and sample processing procedures will be identified and submitted to the USEPA as a proposed method modification to USEPA Method 3050B. The other aspect of the dissertation will evaluate the effects of the grinding process of the multi-increment sampling methodology on toxicity and bioaccumulation of organics and metals on two common employed test organisms.

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