The Great Lakes are the largest available freshwater resource in the world. The Great Lakes region is heavily populated and was the largest centre of industry in North America for much of the 20th century. Unfortunately, many of the activities occurred during time periods of insufficient environmental knowledge and the Great Lakes were not protected from potentially devastating environmental effects. As a result, testing for legacy Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) remains of key importance. Stakeholders in the region have been successful in reducing many environmental contaminant issues but continue to deal with new issues on a regular basis. Consequently, the Great Lakes region remains the largest area of environmental monitoring and study in North America.
SGS AXYS has been active in providing analytical support in this region, on both sides of the border, since our inception in 1974. Federal Agencies, State and Provincial Agencies, and other stakeholders routinely turn to AXYS for analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs). The work may feature very low level work at a regional level, support of research in POPs and CECs conducted in the region, or more targeted work at Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs).
Through our ongoing involvement in IJC, GLRI, GLNPO and National programs that capture Great Lakes information such as CMP, Mussel Watch, or National POP assessments, AXYS understands the unique challenges that exist in the Great Lakes Region. AXYS can provide methods and analyses in all matrices needed to accurately assess, model and monitor all environmental compartments; whether with regional perspectives in mind, for basic POP and CEC research effects, or for site-specific AOCs.
We bring our clients some important advantages:
Lower Detection with High Data Quality: Great Lakes Regional work typically requires much lower detection limits to meet EPA Great Lakes Clean Water objectives, CCME objectives, or protection of food and biota resources to support regulatory or more stringent tribal or indigenous needs. As the measurement programs are expensive and the results may determine actions over a region for years into the future, there is also a need for the highest level of data quality. SGS AXYS excels in these two areas and provides the best analytical tools for the measurement of POPs and organic CECs, supported by 30 years of experience.
Innovative Method Development: SGS AXYS works with regulatory agencies to develop and/or validate our POP and CEC methods (e.g. EPA 1668A/C, 1614, 1694, 1698, 1699) to provide more effective and accepted tools for regional monitoring. SGS AXYS understands the expense of collecting samples for regional needs and has developed fractionation processes where multiple analyte groups can be measured from a single common sample without compromising detection limit or data quality issues. This provides a significant cost reduction in the collection of samples.
Data Excellence: All SGS AXYS methods employ isotope dilution, extensive chromatographic clean-up options, and rigorous blank control under an IEC/ISO 17025 quality system. These attributes are required to meet regional monitoring data quality objectives.
Sampling Capabilities: AXYS capabilities include large-volume analysis media preparation, analysis of passive and active sampling device media (SPMDs, POCIS, SPMEs, PEDs), high-volume sampling devices (XAD variants plus filtered portions) to provide the ability to measure particulate bound, and dissolved contaminant loads or integrated dissolved or available contaminant loads. SGS AXYS also has specific expertise in the preparation and analysis of all forms of tissue and biota.
Capacity: SGS AXYS has the largest North American capacity for the support of regional monitoring needs.
Baseline PBDE Levels Established in Lake Ontario
In collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, analysis of high volume Lake Ontario surface water samples collected on XAD-2 resin and filters for PBDEs, PCBs, dioxins and furans, and OC pesticides in 1999 resulted in a joint publication “Establishing Baseline Levels on PBDEs in Lake Ontario Surface Water”.
AXYS Provides Ongoing Analyses for Great Lakes Areas of Concern
Under the 1987 International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States, 43 Areas of Concern (AOCs) were identified by the U.S. and Canada as being significantly impaired by contaminants. AXYS has been active in providing analytical services to both Canadian and U.S. regulatory agencies (at both Federal and State / Provincial levels) since the early 90’s. Services provided have been for legacy POPs and CECs in all environmental matrices and through many applications of high volume sampling and passive monitoring devices. Work has been conducted in all Great Lakes and all interconnecting waterways. Experience includes differentiated particulate and dissolved POPs vs. “Clean Water Act” guidelines, inputs for mass balance work, biota assessments, CEC surveys, and AOC sediment characterization.