PFAS Sample Collection Containers and Tips

PFAS Sample Collection Containers and Tips

Sample collection for PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) requires an experienced environmental professional to eliminate and reduce potential field issues that could impact analytical test results.  To support our clients’ PFAS sample collection efforts, Merit provides sample collection kits to ensure the proper sample volume is collected, along with appropriate preservatives and sample containers. 

It must be noted that the sample collection container type, volume, and preservatives are dependent upon the sample matrix and analytical method. Here are the standard guidelines for the PFAS sample collection kits provided by Merit:

Drinking Water

  • Method: EPA 537 
  • Containers: (2) 250 mL containers (HDPE or Polypropylene) with unlined screw caps.
  • Preservative: Trizma; Cooled < 10° C

Wastewater/Surface Water/Groundwater (Non-Drinking Water)

  • Method: ASTM D7979 with Isotopic Dilution
  • Containers: (3) 15 mL centrifuges (fill to the 5 mL mark, not to exceed the 7 mL mark)
  • Preservative: Cooled < 10° C

Samples should be chilled during shipment and must not exceed 10° C. For method compliance, the sample temperature must be at or below 10° C upon sample receipt by the laboratory. According to the EPA, samples that are significantly above 10° C at the time of sample collection, may need to be iced or refrigerated in order to chill them prior to shipping, allowing the samples to be shipped with sufficient ice to satisfy the temperature requirements. 

There are also field sampling guidelines to consider and follow associated to ensure PFAS sampling is performed properly.  A few of these guidelines include:

  • When performing sample collection for multiple parameters or tests, PFAS sampling must be performed first. 
  • Clothing worn in the field during sample collection should not be treated with fabric softener, fabric protector, stain resistant chemicals, or insect resistant chemicals. Tyvek-coated or Gore Tex products must not be used in the field.
  • As a precaution, on the day of sample collection, field personnel should not use cosmetics, hand creams, moisturizers, dental floss and plaque removers, and most types of sunscreen and insect repellants.
  • During field collection, avoid using recycled or waterproof/treated paper, plastic clipboards, binders, markers, and adhesive paper products (e.g. Post-It notes).
  • Food and beverages coming into contact with pre-packaged containers, fast food wrappers and containers, aluminum foil, and non-stick cookware and containers should be avoided.

Please contact Merit Laboratories for assistance on your PFAS testing needs. Merit is Michigan’s PFAS environmental laboratory, analyzing groundwater, drinking water, and other sample matrices at our laboratory in East Lansing, Michigan. We are always happy to guide you through sample collection container needs, compound lists, holding times, and method selection.