Interference of avian guano in analyses of fuel-contaminated soils

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Site characterization on Johnston Island, Johnston Atoll, Pacific Ocean, has yielded preliminary data that seabird guano can be an interference in three common petroleum hydrocarbon quantification methods. Volatiles from seabird guano were measured on a hydrocarbon-specific handheld vapor meter (catalytic detector) in concentrations as high as 256 ppm by volume total hydrocarbon. Analysis of guano solids produced measurable concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) as diesel using both an immunoassay test and the EPA 8015 Modified Method. The testing was conducted on one surface sample of guano collected from a seabird roosting and nesting area. Source species were not identified. Positive hydrocarbon test results for guano raise concerns regarding the effectiveness of standard methods of petroleum-contaminated site characterization for Johnston Island, other Pacific islands, and coastal areas with historic or contemporary seabird populations.


Guano; Hydrocarbons--Research; Johnston Island; Oil pollution of soils; Petroleum--Environmental aspects


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Environmental Engineering | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Sciences | Oil, Gas, and Energy


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