Advanced Water Management Centre

Analytical Services Lab: the engine room of the AMWC

Monday, 07 September 2020

The Advanced Water Management Centre's Analytical Services Laboratory (ASL) has been providing reliable, accurate and cost-effective sample analysis in waste, surface and drinking water for over 20 years, to both internal and external clients. 

The ASL began life as the Process Environmental Analysis Centre at the School of Chemical Engineering before being taken over by AWMC in the year 2000. Over the past twenty years, the ASL has continually developed and tailored its methods to complement the varying and dynamic fields of study within AWMC. As the engine room of the Centre and an integral part of its success, more than 35,000 samples are processed every year. 

On a daily basis the ASL is measuring a number of general parameters including anions, cations, nutrients, TOC, as well as specialized tests such as greenhouse gases, volatile fatty acids, pharmaceuticals and micropollutants and malodourous compounds.  

The ASL is run by an expert team managed by Nathan Clayton, who along with Nigel Dawson and Jianguang Li are continuously adapting and developing new analytical methods. To assist them with this, the ASL will this month take delivery of a new ICP-OES instrument, made possible through a generous EAIT Faculty equipment grant. With this new instrument, the ASL will have the flexibility to conduct routine measurement of cations and metals in a wide-range of matrices from drinking water, through to trade waste, biosolids and even seawater. This also presents new and exciting opportunities to expand the analytical capability of the lab, with trace element analysis (in the sub-ppb range) now a possibility. 

The Analytical Services Lab is equipped with the following instruments: 

  • Agilent/Markes TD-GC/MS/pFPD for malodourous compound analysis 
  • Agilent HS-GC/FID/ECD with CTC autosampler for greenhouse gas analysis 
  • Agilent GC-FID (7890A) for volatile fatty acid analysis & polyhydroxyalkanoate analysis 
  • Agilent GC-ECD/ECD (7890A) for disinfection by-product analysis 
  • AB Sciex LC-MS/MS (4000 QTRAP) for pharmaceuticals and micropollutant analysis 
  • Shimadzu HPLC system with refractive index, photodiode and fluorescence detectors 
  • Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyser with Total Nitrogen detector (TOC-L) 
  • Dionex IC systems (ICS-2000 & ICS-2100) with conductivity and UV detectors for anion, oxyanion and sulfur species analysis 
  • Lachat Flow Injection Analyser (FIA) for nutrients and TKN/TP analysis 
  • Thermo Scientific ICP-OES for cation and metals analysis (September 2020) 

To find out how the ASL may be able to assist with your sample analysis needs please contact the team: awmc.labs@uq.edu.au