Environmental spills are often characterized using a tiered approach with initial methodologies and analysis driven by regulatory requirements and analytical cost. To this point capillary gas chromatography with a flame ionisation detection (GC-FID) is considered a valuable cost effective tool as a tier one approach and is widely accepted tool for identification of petroleum products in the environment. GC-FID is a universal non-selective technique which will provide accurate and precise data, but can fail to provide detailed compound specific information. This presentation will present case scenarios where tier one data prompted further investigation using more advanced technologies including biomarker fingerprinting methods. Due to their specificity and high resistance to biodegradation, biomarkers have become increasingly important for identifying the source of spilled petroleum and assist with source apportionment.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Ralph Ruffolo
Sr. Litigation Scientist
Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Toronto, Ontario