Leaking NTN Bottles

Kim Attig and Mark Rhodes
Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL)
National Atmospheric Deposition Program
Illinois State Water Survey
Champaign, IL 61820

After weekly collections, NTN samples are decanted into 1 liter bottles and sent to the Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL). The number of NTN samples with leaks received by the CAL in 2009 was about 40% of all samples received, or about 5,100 samples. As the percentage of leaks approaches half of all NTN samples, certain concerns ensue, such as the integrity of wet boxes being shipped, sample volume to analyze and archive, and potential sample contamination.

To remedy such concerns, the NADP should take action to reduce and hopefully eliminate leaks from NTN bottles during shipping. Re-using bottles is necessary; using new bottles for each shipment is not cost-effective and is wasteful. In order to do this, we have tried sealing the bottles with parafilm, holding the lids down tighter using rubber bands, and packing the boxes with bubble wrap. After initial testing, 4 participants were sent samples, measured any leaks, emptied any leakage from the sample bag, and returned the samples to the CAL. Upon receipt we measured any leaks and analyzed the samples for contamination from leaking during shipping. The preliminary recommendation is that the NADP should supply rubber bands with sample bottles to reduce sample leaks during shipping.