US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Chemosphere 61 (2005) 610–622


Four water samples collected using standard depth and width water-column sampling methodology were compared to an innovative passive, in situ, sampler (the polar organic chemical integrative sampler or POCIS) for the detection of 96 organic wastewater-related contaminants (OWCs) in a stream that receives agricultural, municipal, and industrial wastewaters. Thirty-two OWCs were identified in POCIS extracts whereas 9–24 were identified in individual water-column samples demonstrating the utility of POCIS for identifying contaminants whose occurrence are transient or whose concentrations are below routine analytical detection limits. Overall, 10 OWCs were identified exclusively in the POCIS extracts and only six solely identified in the water-column samples, however, repetitive water samples taken using the standard method during the POCIS deployment period required multiple trips to the sampling site and an increased number of samples to store, process, and analyze. Due to the greater number of OWCs detected in the POCIS extracts as compared to individual water-column samples, the ease of performing a single deployment as compared to collecting and processing multiple water samples, the greater mass of chemical residues sequestered, and the ability to detect chemicals which dissipate quickly, the passive sampling technique offers an efficient and effective alternative for detecting OWCs in our waterways for wastewater contaminants.