How to Optimize Environmental Sample Preparation and Analysis



Webinar Date/Time: Thu, Feb 22, 2024 11:00 AM EST

Looking for ways to improve your environmental metals and organics analyses in aspects such as lab throughput, data quality, labor, costs, and safety? This eWorkshop uses a total workflow approach to sample preparation that promises to help you optimize your operations and offers practical advice for preventing workflow disruptions that negatively affect your lab’s performance.

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Event Overview:

A key part of the workflow for an environmental laboratory is sample preparation. Most sample preparation steps are manual, time-consuming, costly, error-prone, and have elements of risk associated with exposure to concentrated acids and solvents.

This eWorkshop presents a total workflow approach to sample preparation for organics and metals, including a special case for mercury. It examines ways to improve key measures of the process such as lab throughput, data quality, costs, and safety. Practical advice is provided for preventing workflow disruptions, such as lengthy and incomplete digestions and extractions, sample contamination, and complicated preparation steps for mercury, all of which can prevent a laboratory from meeting their overall performance, cost, quality, and safety goals.

Several of the presentations include demonstrations of the systems and methods being discussed, including acid purification, automated reagent addition, vessel handling, microwave digestion, microwave extraction, sample filtration, labware cleaning, and Direct Mercury Analysis, all reflecting approved EPA methodologies.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Discover why you should look beyond conventional sample digestions and extractions and consider the total sample preparation and analysis workflow for metals (including mercury) and organics.
  • Learn about approaches for improving your lab’s throughput, quality, flexibility, safety, and costs.
  • Explore approved, but often underutilized, technologies for environmental sample preparation and analysis.

Who Should Attend:

  • Anyone performing or overseeing environmental analyses
    • Lab Directors
    • Lab Managers/Supervisors
    • Group Leaders
    • Chemists/Analysts
    • Technicians
    • QA Managers

Event Agenda:
Half-day session, 11:00 am — 2:00 pm EST

11:00 am eWorkshop Introduction, Spectroscopy

11:05 am Overview of a ‘Total Workflow’ Approach to Sample Prep and Why it Matters
Giulio Colnaghi, Milestone

This introduction to a ‘total workflow’ approach to sample preparation for metals and organics analyses examines not only the evolution of the pivotal microwave digestion and extraction processes, but also additional steps in the workflow that are critical to meeting lab performance requirements. By optimizing these steps, laboratories are better prepared to overcome the challenges they face and avoid workflow disruptions that impede the analysis process and result in higher costs and avoidable risks.

11:25 am The ultimate in environmental workflow simplicity: Direct Mercury Analysis:
Jesse Davidson, Milestone

Milestone’s Direct Mercury Analysis (DMA) approach eliminates the complex and error-prone sample preparation steps associated with classical cold vapor AAS as well as the hassles of analyzing samples for mercury via ICP-MS. This presentation demonstrates how the simple “load and go” DMA approach provides significant ROI, safety improvements, more consistent data quality, and automated processing of environmental samples in accordance with EPA SW-846 method 7473.

11:55 am Microwave extraction, solvent addition, and sample filtration for semi-volatile organics analysis
Jesse Davidson, Milestone

The Milestone Total Workflow approach for organics extractions provides an efficient, safe, and robust approach to soil extractions for target organic species such as PCBs, pesticides, and semi-volatiles. The key components of the workflow examined in this presentation include automated solvent addition, microwave extraction, and extract filtration. Advantages of the approach include faster preparations, lower costs, improved worker safety, and less impact on the environment.

12:25 pm Total Workflow Approach for metals -In-house acid purification
Eric Farrell, Milestone :

High-purity acid expenses for metals analysis can consume a significant portion of a lab’s operational budget. In addition, accidental contamination and supply chain challenges for obtaining high-purity acids can put a lab’s operations at risk. In this presentation you will learn the principles of sub-boiling distillation and how performing acid purification in-house can result in considerable cost savings, better quality acids, and ensure an uninterrupted analysis workflow.

12:40 pm Automated reagent dosing
Eric Farrell, Milestone

The reagent addition, or ‘dosing,’ step of the sample preparation process has traditionally been a tedious and laborious task within metals and extractions protocols, especially when it involves concentrated acids and organic solvents. This presentation shows how automating the reagent dosing process provides greater consistency, while removing the operator from exposure to harmful acid and solvent fumes and frees them to perform safer and more value-added tasks.

12:55 pm Microwave digestion, vessel handling, and sample filtration for metals analysis
Eric Farrell, Milestone

While still considered the 'workhorse' of many metals analysis laboratories, rotor-based microwave digestion systems can also be the weak link in a laboratory's sample prep workflow if something goes wrong. In this presentation you will learn how various aspects of rotor-based digestion systems, including the advantages of advanced vessel construction and simplified handling features, can work to optimize a workflow, as well as avoid disruptions such as the need to rerun samples due to incomplete digestions or cross-contamination.

01:30 pm Automated labware cleaning for metals labs
Eric Farrell, Milestone

Using acid baths and microwave systems for cleaning sample prep vessels and other types of labware can have a substantial impact on an elemental analysis lab’s throughput, workflow, and efficiency. In this presentation, you will learn how automating this step using acid-steam cleaning keeps your microwave system focused on digesting samples and removes the tedium and hazards of hand-cleaning labware from your staff.

1:45 pm Q&A
Jesse Davidson, Eric Farrell, Bob Bradley, Milestone


Giulio Colnaghi
Marketing Manager
Milestone, SRL

Giulio Colnaghi has been working at Milestone since 2003. He is a chemist and started his career at Milestone as an Application Specialist, focusing on new method development and addressing specific needs in sample preparation. Later, he transitioned to Area Manager for most countries in Latin America and the eastern part of Europe, and then for the U.S. Since 2018, he has held the position of Marketing Manager at Milestone headquarters in Bergamo, Italy. During his career at Milestone, Giulio has worked with hundreds of laboratories and chemists to help them in overcoming daily challenges in elemental analysis by optimizing their workflow and methods. Today, Giulio aims to support worldwide laboratories to enhance their efficiency using state-of-the-art technologies.

Bob Bradley
Environmental Markets Manager
Milestone Inc

Bob Bradley is the Environmental Markets and Direct Mercury Analysis Product Manager at Milestone, Inc. Bob received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemistry from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Milestone, Bob co-founded and directed environmental analysis laboratories for over 40 years in the Northeastern U.S. During his career, Bob’s mindset has been that of a hands-on chemist with a focus on new technologies and process improvements in all phases of sample preparation and analysis. He is fully versed in all EPA methodologies and is excited to share his extensive technical and commercial experience with Milestone and their customers.

Jesse Davidson
Product Specialist
Milestone, Inc.

Jesse Davidson is a Product Specialist at Milestone, Inc. for their Direct Mercury Analysis and extraction lines. Jesse obtained his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Southern Connecticut State University, with a focus in organic chemistry and analytical instrumentation. Jesse spent his early years at Milestone as a Field Chemist, installing, repairing, and training across all product lines. Thanks to continuous collaboration with laboratories and universities located across the U.S., he has gained substantial expertise in sample preparation for organics extractions and digestions using microwave techniques. Jesse develops new application methods, participates in, and organizes training courses, and provides ready support to analytical laboratories for extractions, digestions, and Direct Mercury Analysis products.

Eric Farrell
Product Specialist
Milestone Inc

Eric Farrell is the Product Specialist for the Digestion and Clean Chemistry lines at Milestone Inc. Eric obtained his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Union College, with a focus in inorganic chemistry. Prior to joining Milestone, he worked in the particle characterization field as a Laboratory Manager and in domestic and international sales, where he supported sales and applications across all product lines.

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