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 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. In early 2019, EPA began a multi-laboratory validation study of the method using 12 laboratories and 4 matrices. As of February 2021, EPA’s Office of Water has drafted the multi-laboratory validation study report and method.

The presentation outlines the procedure, summarizes the multi-laboratory validation results, and describes the future steps required to approve the method for wastewater compliance monitoring under 40 CFR Part 136. This method will likely be posted on the EPA Clean Water Act Methods website before the 2021 National Environmental Monitoring Conference.