Optimization of Total Nitrogen (TN) and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analysis using Combustion Methodology

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Environmental Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by A. Roberts
Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), 1432 Air Rail Ave., Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23455, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 757-460-4213


Combustion technology has been widely used for total organic carbon (TOC) analysis for many years. More recently, with the Chemiluminescence detection (CLD) developed, a new High Temperature Combustion (HTC) technology, has been employed for Total Nitrogen (TN) analysis, which provides a fast and efficient way to monitor nitrogen loading by direct TN analysis. The traditional method for measuring Total Nitrogen (TN) is by calculation from the Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) and Nitrogen oxides (NOx). Current TKN methods are labor intensive and produce acid and other hazardous waste. Use of the Combustion method to TN reduces labor as well as the generation of hazardous waste. When HRSD began implementation of this method, it was observed that the combustion method results differed from those generated from the traditional methods in some matrices. Various studies were performed by HRSD to identify possible causes for these differences. This presentation highlights the need for various calibration types to fully capture TN composition in samples to minimize the difference between traditional methods and the newer, more efficient combustion method. In addition, information on the benefits of using sucrose rather than KHP for TOC quality control will be covered.