ASTM WK67563

    New Practice for Collection of Wastewater Samples for the Identification and Quantification of Microplastic Particles

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    Developed by Subcommittee: D19.06 | Committee D19 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Scope

    1.1 This procedure provides for the collection of municipal sewage and treated wastewater effluent for determining the presence of microplastic particles. 1.2 Wastewater samples are sieved through sieves of increasingly smaller mesh size to allow for the collection of desired particle size fractions. 1.3 Subsequent sample preparation followed by analysis utilizing either FTIR or Raman microscopy may be used to identify the quantity and composition (polymer type) of microplastic particles. It is also desired to confirm microplastic particles size and shape with appropriate instruments such as a scanning electron microscope (SEM).


    microplastic pollution; microplastic contamination; microplastics in wastewater; influent; effluent; raw sewage; collection procedures; sampling procedures; quantification procedures; sample prep;


    Microplastics are now recognized as pervasive in the environment - including wastewater effluent, the ocean water column, sediments, animal tissue and even drinking water. This pervasiveness has led to product bans for small plastics, such as microbeads used in cosmetic products, to larger plastic items that can degrade into microplastics, such as bags and straws. In addition, there are new and planned requirements to monitor microplastics in the environment, wastewater effluent and in drinking water. Implementing monitoring programs requires reliable standardized methods and best practice guidelines. Such methods enable comparison of studies, and the ability to compare quantification among sources. Although the quantification and characterization of microplastics in samples has been occurring for more than a decade, the results are not necessarily reliable or comparable because neither standard field and laboratory methods for collection and identification nor the reference materials necessary for quality assurance yet exist. The new standards will be used for QA/QC and risk assessment by local, state and federal agencies, industry, academia, and active NGOs.

    The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.

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    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    William Robberson

    Draft Under Development