SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

A Rapid and Cost Effective Method for Field/Laboratory Extraction of Porewater from Whole Lake Sediment using Vacuum Extraction


The use of an electric vacuum pump to extract porewater from whole lake sediment was tested to determine if this method could be used to collect a sample quickly and economically for determination of sediment contamination. Multiple aquarium air stones (15 cm long) were placed evenly throughout the sediment sample and attached to a vacuum flask using aquarium tubing. An electric vacuum pump was used to create a vacuum, which pulled sediment porewater from the sample into the flask. In our investigation, sediment porewater was extracted at a rate of 9.7 mL/min with minimal labor investment. Percent similarity of duplicate chemical analyses ranged from 67 to 100% and percent similarity of duplicate acute toxicity results was 96%. Increased variability in both analytical and toxicological results was observed in samples collected in close proximity and this variability increased as sediment toxicity increased. Percent similarity of acute toxicity results using porewater extracted by vacuum and centrifugation methods were 84% for contaminated porewater and 100% for reference porewater.

Author Information

McCauley, DJ
Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Traverse City, Michigan
Navarro, JE
Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Traverse City, Michigan
Forgette, TA
Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Traverse City, Michigan
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 301–309
DOI: 10.1520/STP11716S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5345-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2031-0