Environmental Monitoring

Drs. MacDougall and Stetefeld provide some insight into the environmental monitoring project with the Canadian northern communities

COGRAD is a 115 m2 state-of-the-art analytical facility located on the University of Manitoba campus. The Centre is equipped with some of the newest analytical instrumentation currently available including:

– Agilent’s gas chromatograph triple quadrupole mass spectrometer

– LECO’s two dimensional gas chromatograph high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer

– Applied Biosystems liquid chromatograph triple quadrupole mass spectrometer

– Thermo Scientific’s Accelerated Solvent Extractor

– J2’s Automated Gel Permeation Chromatography

The newly acquired analytical instrumentation will be used to support environmental monitoring obligations of our clients and to advance the environmental monitoring and R&D activities of the Centre. Furthermore, lower analytical detection limits are now achievable for toxicologically important oil components including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their alkylated analogues.

COGRAD operates under ISO 17025:2005 Quality System comprised of two key elements: a Management System and a Technical System. We have initiated the formal application process for ISO 17025:2005 (CAN-P-4E) and CAN-P-1595:2011 (Test Method Development & Non-Routine Testing) accreditation through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). To date COGRAD has successfully participated in two rounds of Proficiency Testing administered by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) which fulfills the Technical System prerequisite for accreditation through the SCC. Operating with the Quality System in place would ensure that the analysis of samples would be conducted in a controlled manner to generate meaningful and accurate results while the accreditation of COGRAD is finalized.

Another innovative priority of COGRaD will be the design of a new media for both environmental site-remediation in the event of an accidental spill and passive-based samplers for long-term monitoring that are inexpensive and efficient. The media will be based on proteinaceous right-hand coiled nanotubes shown to strongly retain compounds present in crude oil mixtures like PAHs.