Fully automated on-line headspace monitoring of VOCs from waste effluent by GC–FID and GC–TOF MS

This study demonstrates a fully automated GC analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the headspace of waste effluent using a flow-through cell with a sample preparation robot, and detection by FID and/or TOF MS. The use of these two detection techniques enables robust on-line quantitation of target compounds, as well as confident identification of unknowns and emerging contaminants.


Environmental agencies regularly monitor watercourses and coastal waters for the presence of a variety of compound classes, to ensure that any releases from industry are within acceptable limits. To reduce the risk of fines (or even site closure), manual spot-checks have commonly been used by companies to monitor their own releases, but the lowering of limit levels means that these are no longer adequate, and run the risk of missing pollution events.