Retrospective Evaluation of Substance Concentrations and Media Quality

Many environmental policy decisions are based on what is known about the occurrence and distri­bution of chemical substances in the environment.We derive environmental quality objectives and for clients from regulatory bodies and industry we investigate trends of substance concentrations in environmental media (trend monitoring) or whether environmental quality standards are exceeded (surveillance monitoring).

On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) we maintain the German Federal Environmental Specimen Bank which is a central component of the ecological environmental observation program.

By order of the authorities, we use results from our own monitoring studies and data from the literature to identify critical substance properties such as bioaccumulation, biomagnification and long-range transport. Furthermore we develop and implement monitoring programs for industry partners and offer to apply these in monitoring studies.

Further to a substance-related monitoring we develop methods for effects-related analyses of environmental samples and evaluate the environmental quality by means of chemical, ecotoxicological and ecological parameters.

Research, development and services

Substance-related monitoring

●  Development of and consultation on sampling strategies for substance-related environmental monitoring

●  Problem-oriented sampling of water, soil, air and biota

● Trace analysis of metals in water, soil, dust samples and biological matrices

●  Elemental speciation analysis using GC-ICP/MS, IC-ICP/MS or HPLC-ICP/MS coupling

●  Species-specific isotope dilution analysis of organometalic compounds by GC-ICP/MS

●  Tracking of trace concentrations of organic contaminants in the water and sediment phase, in soil, air and in biological matrices

●  Method development for the identification and quantification of emerging contaminants

●  Analytical determination of hazardous contaminants at industrial and military sites

●  Preparation of environmental and biota (e.g. fish) samples and storage under cryogenic conditions

●  Use of monitoring data for the risk assessment of chemicals (bioaccumulation, long-range transport)

●  Assessment of the ecological impact of substances in biotic and abiotic matrices

Evaluation of media quality

●  Determination and assessment of the current state of soils: Physicochemical analysis, analysis of soil biocoenosis, ecotoxicological analysis, and impairment of ecosystem structures (biodiversity) and functions

●  Supply and distribution of reference soils for testing (Refesol program of the German Federal Environment Agency)

●  Determination and assessment of water quality using biomarkers (e.g. estrogen receptor tests, UMU tests, vitellogenin analysis), fish embryo assays, ecological monitoring of surface waters

●  Assessment of substance-related water quality, determi­nation and assessment of the concentration of problematic substances

●  Derivation of water quality objectives according to the European Water Framework Directive