TPH in Water 

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Water samples were accurately measured on the UVF-3100 analyzer, calibrated to vacuum pump oil, to match the source of contamination.

The certified spiked concentration was 63 mg/L for Gravimetric and 77 mg/L for IR.  Sitelab's TPH result was 80 mg/L.

Results below are compared to the TPH in water concentrations reported by 31 participating laboratories.

Instrumentation and test methods used by participating laboratories: US EPA Method 418.1 by Infrared (IR) and US EPA Method 1664 by Gravimetric.

Accuracy is shown below:



TPH in Water Test Procedure:

Sitelab's TPH sample arrived in a cooler on ice and was provided in a 1 Liter bottle (pictured above).  The sample contained deionized water spiked with certified vacuum pump oil.  This oil-type is used to qualify laboratories for EPA Methods 1644 or 418.1

When testing TPH in water, the sample is first shaken up and then 10 mL is measured out and transferred  to an extraction jar.  10 mL of hexane solvent is then added to the jar and the extract is shaken for about one minute, giving the solvent ample time to dissolve the contamination. The top layer of hexane extract is then poured into a glass cuvette and placed into the UVF-3100 for analysis.

     Both sample extracts and the oil were first tested using Sitelab's TPH-Oil Calibration kit (CAL-057), which produced low concentrations. When tested at a 100 ppm concentration, the oil only read as 5.9 ppm, about 17 times lower. The lubricating oil used in this study is very light and contains much higher proportions of non-fluorescent aliphatic hydrocarbons compared to Sitelab's TPH-Oil standard, intended for heavier, more aromatic types of oil contamination.  For many oil in water applications, however, the oil is available and can be diluted in solvent and used for accurate TPH measurement, as illustrated below

The certified spiked concentration was 63 mg/L for Gravimetric and 77 mg/L for IR.  Sitelab's TPH was 80 mg/L.


Computer printout of GRO test results using Sitelab's software included with the UVF-3100 analyzer.


Sitelab is partnered with Turner Designs Hydrocarbon Instruments, Inc. located in Fresno, California, the world's largest manufacturer of fluorescence spectrophotometers.  Turner specializes in oil in water applications, primarily serving the oil industry and sells/supports their products both directly and through a large network of distributors located all over the world.  Call Turner Designs at (559) 253-1414.

See Turner Design's website:

Disclaimer: This chart is published with permission from Environmental Resource Associates, Inc. a subsidiary of Waters Corporation. ERA does not endorse Sitelab or it's products. To learn more about ERA, visit their website at


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