Accidental spills and leaks of kerosene-based fuel require the differentiation of the exact fuel type between kerosene and JP-8. The detection of the antioxidants, 2,6-Di-tert-butylphenol (DTBP) and 2,4-dimethyl-6-tert-butylphenol (DMTBP) in ground water can be an important clue to distinguish between the two. We have developed a method to determine trace phenolic antioxidants in ground water without derivatization by a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, and then applied it to distinguish JP-8 from kerosene. 25 ground water samples were collected from 25 monitoring wells in an area contaminated with kerosene-based fuel. The antioxidants from ground water were extracted with methylene chloride. Solid phase extraction (SPE) was compared to liquid extraction (LLE), but LLE was selected due to poorer reproducibility and recovery of SPE. Extraction of the compounds from ground water gave recoveries of about 90% and a detection limit of 0.02 μg L−1. The method was used to analyze groundwater samples contaminated with fuel. DMTBP was detected in concentrations of 0.05–4.65 μg L−1 in 12 of the samples. Since DMTBP is the only antioxidant used in JP-8 in Korea, this suggests that the fuel in the contaminated samples is JP-8.
Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry Antioxidants 2,6-Di-tert-butylphenol and 2,4-dimethyl-6-tert-butylphenol Ground water Pollutant differentiation
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