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Adrian Gonzalez in the Water Quality Core Facility.

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 campus, under the direction of CEE Department Head Chris Cox. As of October 2020, the WQCF earned accreditation for specific analytical methods through The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) Institute (TNI). Contact us for more details about the accreditation process. Fee-based services are available to a wide-range of clients, including UT 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 as municipal utilities.

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Shelf full of water samples.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 turnaround times. Read WQCF’s FAQ page.

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 PhD-level staff is provided on an as-need basis. Requests for service are initiated by submitting the Request for Services form with your samples.

Cost of Services

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

Please Note: It is the current WQCF policy to charge for QA/QC samples analyzed concurrently with your samples. The number of QA/QC* samples to be included is entirely negotiable and should be discussed and agreed to with the Technical Manager BEFORE submitting samples for analysis.

*QA/QC samples include the following (not exhaustive) list: calibration standards, method and/or matrix blanks, third-party reference standards, laboratory-fortified (i.e., ‘spiked’) blanks and samples, duplicates, etc.

RATES Internal Academic External
Service 1: ICP Analysis $8.00 $12.00 $33.00
Service 2: IC Analysis $16.00 $24.50 $40.00
Service 3: Accredited Samples $12.00 $18.40 $20.40
Service 4: Assisted Analysis $5.50 $8.40 $10.00
Service 5: Training (per hour) $39.00 $59.70 $70.00
Service 5a: Mine Water Chemistry $39.00 $59.70 $70.00
Service 5b: Digestion $39.00 $59.70 $70.00

*Pricing effective July 1, 2023.

Request for Service

Download and complete the Request for Services form and return it with your samples.

Request for Services Form