A New EPA 1600-Series Method for PCB Congeners by Low-Resolution GC-MS

New Organic Monitoring Techniques
Oral Presentation

Prepared by A. Hanley
USEPA Office of Water, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Mail Code 4303T, Washington, DC, 20460, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 202-564-1564


The only method currently approved for monitoring polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in wastewater is Method 608, which only measures the seven common Aroclor mixtures. Most PCB contamination in the environment is highly weathered and often does not resemble any of the Aroclor mixtures. In addition, there are non-Aroclor sources of PCB in the environment, and Aroclor results underestimate PCB contamination in a sample compared to the analysis of PCB congeners.

EPA’s Office of Water led and completed a single-laboratory validation of a PCB congener method using low-resolution gas chromatography – mass spectrometry with select ion monitoring (GC-MS-SIM) in 2017. The method uses 29 carbon-13 labeled PCBs as extracted internal standards to quantify results for all 209 PCB congeners, with some co-eluting. As of January 2020, EPA’s Office of Water has almost completed the laboratory analysis for a multi-laboratory validation study of the method with 6 or more participating laboratories.

The presentation outlines the procedure, summarizes the multi-laboratory validation results, and describes the required future steps to generate an approved method for wastewater under 40 CFR Part 136. EPA’s Office of Science and Technology usually posts an unapproved version of 1600-series methods shortly after the multi-laboratory validation study report is finalized. This method will likely be posted on the EPA Clean Water Act Methods website shortly before or after the 2020 National Environmental Monitoring Conference.