The Center’s offices, library, and laboratories are located on the UH-Mānoa campus, in Holmes Hall. WRRC is able to provide well-equipped analytical and environmental laboratories for a wide variety of ap­plications. Access to other UH laboratory space can often be arranged as needed. Small research installations are also located at numerous points around Oahu.

WRRC Analytical Laboratory (Holmes 181)
Working closely with the Civil and Environmental Engineering depart­ment, the 700 sq. ft. laboratory was equipped with a wide variety of instruments for the analysis of environ­mental pollutants at trace levels of parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb), and parts per trillion (ppt).

The environmental pollutants range from volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds such as petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial solvents, explosives, pharma­ceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) to endo­crine disruptors such as organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs), and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

The laboratory also has instruments capable of mea­suring for major ions, total organic carbon, total nitro­gen, surface area, particle sizing, zeta potential, and metal analysis.

WRRC Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Holmes 182)
Extensively renovated and updated in 2004, this laboratory is capable of perform­ing a wide variety of microbiological and selected molecular biological analyses, and is actively involved in the development of novel analytical methods. Cultivation-based and molecular microbiological as­says are used in parallel to tackle water quality issues applicable in the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

The laboratory contains a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) thermal cycler to amplify segments of DNA; electrophoresis equipment for analyses of DNA and RNA; four Portable Multiuse Automated Concen­tration Systems (PMACS), which are able to capture the smallest virus from large water samples; and an epifluoresence (Labophot, Nikon) and inverted (Axio­vert A1, Zeiss) research microscopes to study microor­ganisms.

In addition, the standard microbiological laboratory equipment is available. These apparatuses include an autoclave, a biological safety hood, aerobic and anaerobic incubators, Quanti-Tray sealers, Qbit 2.0 fluorometer, beadbeater, water baths, microscopes, membrane filtration apparatus, tabletop centrifuges, UV tables, shakers, and storage refrigerators.

Current Laboratory Projects:

  •  Degradation product speciation of sewage sludge with thermal hydrolysis pretreatment
  •  Effects of extracellular polymeric substances on carbon diversion
  •  Stability study of nanoparticle colloids
  •  Hawaii Play Fairway: An updated geolological assessment for the State of Hawaii
  •  South-Central and Southeast Oahu groundwater flow path investigation: Understanding groundwater source location and flow path to public drinking water wells
  • ‘Ike Wai (tracking water sources): Understanding source locations and flow paths of groundwater within Pearl Harbor and Hualālai aquifers
  • Investigation of the potential of available Hawaiian filter medium such as compost, coconut coir, mulch, and biochar, in removing stormwater pollutants
  • Use of fecal indicator bacteria in monitoring microbial risks in tropical urban estuary of Ala Wai Canal

WRRC Analytical Laboratory Instruments:

Thermo Scientific GC/MS:

This is a 1300 model Gas Chromatograph (GC) with an ISQ_LT Mass Spectrometer (MS). In addition to the usual retention time data, GC/MS provides compound-specific information via the unique fragmentation pattern of the compound being analyzed. This pattern can be compared to a database of over 100,000 compounds for positive identification of the analytes. It also has Flame Ionization (FID), Electron Capture (ECD), and Thermal Conductivity (TCD) detector modules for maximum analytical flexibility. Using the FID, it can analyze any compound that has a C-H bond. The FID is the generic, default detector in the GC world. It’s most often used for detecting petroleum hydrocarbons like gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, etc. The ECD is a more sensitive detector for halogenated compounds. It does well with detecting chlorinated pesticides and PCBs. Volatile halogenated compounds like freons and chlorinated industrial solvents can also be detected. The TCD is used for the analysis of permanent gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide levels in biogas. Data from this instrument is collected by Chromeleon software which can process the data, compare it to calibration curves, and prepare spreadsheets of the results automatically.

Thermo Scientific UHPLC:

This is an UltiMate 3000 Ultra High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (UHPLC) equipped with a Fluorescence Detector (FLD) and a Diode Array Detector (DAD) capable of monitoring 4 different wavelengths simultaneously. The DAD is used for the analysis of ultraviolet absorbing compounds, typically compounds that contain unsaturated bonds or aromatic groups. The FLD is a more sensitive detector used for compounds which can fluoresce, like polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), estrogens and alkylphenols.

Thermo Finnigan Surveyor/LCQ (LC/MS):

This is another HPLC instrument equipped with a Photo Diode Array (PDA) detector. A PDA is a UV/V detector which can also scan a range of wavelengths every fraction of a second and provide a profile of a particular unknown compound which can then be compared to a standard’s profile for more positive identification. The mass spectrometer (MS) detector lies at the end of the analytical sequence to provide mass spectral data for positive identification. It has multiple fragmentation capabilities (MSn).

Dionex ICS-1100s(IC):

For basic inorganic ion analyses, WRCC uses the dual Dionex ICS-1100s(IC). This instrument can analyze Anions [fluoride (F), chloride (Cl), nitrate (NO3), phosphate (PO42-), sulfate (SO42-)] and/or Cations [sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), ammonium (NH4+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+)], as well as other ions in water samples.

Shimadzu TOC-V Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyzer with a Total Nitrogen (TN) Detector:

This instrument will analyze liquid samples for Total Carbon (TC), Inorganic Carbon (IC), and Total Organic Carbon by difference. It can also analyze non-purgeable organic carbon (NPOC). It’s capable of measuring Total Nitrogen (TN) concurrently with TOC analysis. It also has an autosampler, computer data acquisition, instrument control software and the 5000A SSM attachment for solid sample analysis.

Gemini VI Surface Area and Pore Density Analyzer:

Our most recent acquisition is a Micromeritics Gemini VI Surface Area and Pore Density Analyzer. Surface area analyzers and pore size analyzers may be used to analyze a number of factors including pore distribution, pore-volume, specific surface area, and total surface area. Surface area helps determine such things as how solids dissolve, burn, and react with other materials. To determine the surface area, surface area analyzers and pore size analyzers measure solid samples that have been pretreated by some combination of heat, vacuum and/or flowing gas to remove adsorbed contaminants acquired from atmospheric exposure. With this instrument, we can analyze soils and activated carbons.

Brookhaven Instruments Zeta Potential and Particle Size Analyzer:

Zeta potential is a function of the surface charge of particles, any adsorbed layer at the interface, and the nature and composition of the surrounding medium in which the particles are suspended. It is usually of the same sign as the potential actually at the particle surface but, unlike the surface potential, the zeta potential is readily measured by experiment. Because it reflects the effective charge on the particles and is therefore related to the electrostatic repulsion between them, zeta potential is extremely relevant to the study and control of colloidal stability and flocculation processes.

Thermo Scientific iCAP 6300 DUO:

An inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) instrument for analyzing trace metals in various types of samples. It can detect about 70 different elements, including: Arsenic (As), Boron (B), Barium (Ba), Beryllium (Be), Cadmium (Cd), Cobalt (Co), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb), Rhenium (Re), Antimony (Sb), Selenium (Se), Silicon (Si), Strontium (Sr), Uranium (U), Vanadium (V), and Zinc (Zn).

Mettler Toledo FBRM S400A:

A focused beam reflectance measurement instrument for determining the particle size distributions in waters and soil suspensions.