Project Title

Comparison of microplastic extraction methodologies for drinking water sludge

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Marina Koether

Additional Faculty

Amy Gruss, Civil and Environmental Engineering, agruss@kennesaw.edu

No data was obtained from human subjects.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Microplastics have been found everywhere on earth including the Arctic Circle and pristine lakes but methods of analyses have not been uniform. In this study, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) microplastic laboratory method for quantifying microplastics specifically designed for marine environments has been applied to drinking water and drinking water sludge samples. Alternatives for difficult or expensive steps were examined. For many of the experiments, the NOAA method was followed. However, for drinking water samples, density separation by NaCl versus ZnCl2 was compared. For sludge sediment samples, the density separation which uses lithium metatungstate was compared between a short duration of 30 minutes to an hour, and a long duration of 1 to 2 days. Additionally, graduated cylinders were used instead of the density separator funnel, which was prone to clogging. The additional step of vacuum filtration was added before the microscopic examination. Based on preliminary visual inspection, a longer settling time for density separation with lithium metatungstate achieves better separation. Comparisons between outflow water samples separated with NaCl versus ZnCl2 are currently being performed. Filtered samples will be analyzed under a stereo microscope by visual inspection or with an FTIR microscope for polymer identification.

Project Type

Event

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Comparison of microplastic extraction methodologies for drinking water sludge

Microplastics have been found everywhere on earth including the Arctic Circle and pristine lakes but methods of analyses have not been uniform. In this study, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) microplastic laboratory method for quantifying microplastics specifically designed for marine environments has been applied to drinking water and drinking water sludge samples. Alternatives for difficult or expensive steps were examined. For many of the experiments, the NOAA method was followed. However, for drinking water samples, density separation by NaCl versus ZnCl2 was compared. For sludge sediment samples, the density separation which uses lithium metatungstate was compared between a short duration of 30 minutes to an hour, and a long duration of 1 to 2 days. Additionally, graduated cylinders were used instead of the density separator funnel, which was prone to clogging. The additional step of vacuum filtration was added before the microscopic examination. Based on preliminary visual inspection, a longer settling time for density separation with lithium metatungstate achieves better separation. Comparisons between outflow water samples separated with NaCl versus ZnCl2 are currently being performed. Filtered samples will be analyzed under a stereo microscope by visual inspection or with an FTIR microscope for polymer identification.