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Water Quality Core Facility


The University of Tennessee’s (UT) Water Quality Core Facility (WQCF) is a world-class laboratory analytical services organization located on the UT Knoxville campus, under the direction of Civil and Environmental Engineering department head, Dr. Chris Cox. We are currently working toward becoming UT’s first fully accredited water quality analytical facility, with accreditation through the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) Institute (TNI). Fee-based services are available to a wide-range of clients, including University of Tennessee research programs, federal and State agencies such as the National Park Service (NPS), the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), other academic institutions, and private entities such municipal utilities.

Currently, the WQCF specializes in providing analyses of aqueous samples for dissolved metals, ion composition, and elemental (carbon, nitrogen) analysis, and of solid samples for carbon content. Dissolved metals are measured by inductively coupled argon plasma (ICP) optical emission spectrometry (OES) using a state-of-the-art Thermo-Scientific iCAP® 7400 ICP spectrometer. Ion composition (both anions and cations) is measured by ion chromatography (IC) using a Thermo-Scientific®/Dionex® ICS-2100 (anions) and ICS-1100 (cations) system with background suppression for low detection limits. Elemental analysis is done by thermal combustion and infrared detection using a Shimadzu® carbon/nitrogen analyzer (TOC-L) for liquid samples or a Shimadzu® SSM-5000A solid sample module. Autosamplers on each instrument allow for analysis of large sample batches with excellent turn-around times.

Services are offered as self-service after successful training process, or as full-service turnkey analyses at various levels of data quality. Training on instrumentation by Ph.D.-level staff is provided on as-need basis. Requests for service are initiated through a Request For Service form which can be emailed to, or submitted directly.

Service Levels 1 – 6 are priced independently and are combined when multiple levels are selected.

RATES Internal Academic External
Service 1: ICP Analysis $6.30 $9.50 $33.00
Service 2: IC Analysis $4.80 $7.20 $25.00
Service 3: CNA Analysis $7.20 $10.90 $10.90
Service 4: Accredited Samples $12.20 $18.40 $18.40
Service 5: Assisted Analysis $5 $7.60 $7.60
Service 6: Training $42.50 $64.20 $64.20


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