EPA Method 440.0

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EPA Method 440.0:
Elemental C and N by Combustion and Thermal Conductivity. Official Name: Determination of Carbon and Nitrogen in Sediments and Particulates of Estuarine/Coastal Waters Using Elemental Analysis

A weighed amount of dried particulate (from water) or sediment is combusted at a high temperature using an elemental analyzer. The combustion products are passed over a copper reduction tube to covert nitrogen oxides to molecular nitrogen. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor are mixed at a known volume, temperature, and pressure. The concentrations of nitrogen and carbon are determined using a series of thermal conductivity detectors/traps, measuring in turn by difference hydrogen (as water vapor), carbon (as carbon dioxide), and nitrogen (as molecular nitrogen). Procedures also are provided to differentiate between organic and inorganic carbon, if desired.

This method determines particulate carbon and particulate nitrogen in estuarine and coastal waters and sediment.

Methods for Determination of Chemical Substances in Marine and Estuarine Matrices - 2nd Edition (EPA/600/R-97/072)

Contamination: Contamination from carbon and nitrogen compounds on laboratory surfaces, fingers, in detergents and dusts are minimized by using gloves and forceps when handling samples.

QC Requirements:
Initial demonstration of laboratory capability and the continued analysis of laboratory reagent blanks, laboratory duplicates, field duplicates, and calibration standards analyzed as samples as a continuing check on performance.

Maximum Holding Time:
100 days.



The method is linear up to 4800 ug-C/sample, and 700 ug-N/sample.

The precision value was calculated using data from replicate analyses of an estuarine water at 12 laboratories. Additional data are found in the method.

The MDLs were determined using a 200-mL sample volume according to the MDL procedure at 40 CFR part 136, Appendix B. The procedure also is detailed in Section 9.2.4 of the method.

Revision Number:
Revision 1.4, September 1997