New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.

Organic Chemistry Program

The Organic Chemistry Section analyzes for environmental contamination in water and soil, by organic pollutants. Our analytical capabilities target contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), petrochemicals, chlorination dis-infection by-products, fumigants, plasticizers, and solvents. This work serves to protect New Mexico drinking waters, ground waters, and surface waters from contamination resulting from industrial spills, leakage from fuel tanks, and the illegal dumping of organic materials.

The laboratory performs analyses for tax-supported governmental agencies and municipalities in an effort to ensure that contamination by potentially toxic compounds is detected and measured. Other state government agencies such as the New Mexico Environment Department defines the source of the contamination and enforces its remediation.


Specimen Collection

Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SOC)

All urban and rural water systems are required by federal law to monitor drinking water for regulated organic compounds to ensure the safety of all water users. We work with these public water systems to meet compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Standards. We analyze for hundreds of organic compounds by the required EPA methodologies. To perform these methods, we must test the water samples within EPA-mandated hold times. EPA hold times for specific tests vary from seven to fourteen days. The hold time starts at the time of sample collection. Therefore samples should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection. Samples collected and held in storage for two or three days before submission to the laboratory may miss the mandated holding times. Laboratory extractions for the semi-volatile organics tests can take nine to twelve hours to perform. The laboratory follows a set extraction schedule to meet EPA method holding times. To meet these holding times, we have created a semi-volatile sampling schedule to indicate when sample collections can be done in the field.

For each sample site, complete the Analytical Request Form using the tests available in the drop-down menu under "OR". Apply one Request ID sticker to the analysis request form in the upper left corner. Collect your samples and apply the same Request ID number to each bottle collected. The larger bottles should be filled to the neck of the bottle, while 40 mL vials should be completely filled. After collecting all the samples, select the appropriate tests on the request form to match the samples.

Invert and lightly tap the VOC-II samples on their tops to ensure that no air bubbles are in the vials. If a bubble is present, remove the cap and add a few more drops. Carefully recap and test again.

Preserve each sample according to the requirements listed on the back of the form. Some bottles may come with preservative already in them (see markings on bottle). The addition of 6N Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) is required for the EPA 525.2 analysis. Samples for these two tests are collected in 1 liter dark glass bottles. The 6N hydrochloric acid is provided by the laboratory.

Preparing a Sample for Shipment:

  1. Collectors should use an indelible marker to label the inside of the cooler’s lid with a return address for the laboratory to ship back the cooler to the correct shipping address.
  2. Ensure that the samples and forms are properly labeled with the seven-digit RID labels. Samples from each sampling site should be accompanied by an analysis request form.
  3. Chill the samples to 4° C at the time of sample collection. The collector should take thoughtful care in packing the samples bottles and vials into the cooler. Every bottle and vial set should be individually wrapped in a bubble-wrap plastic or contained in a foam sleeve. Plastic bubble-wrap padding should be stuffed in between the containers to prevent contact and movement of the bottles during transit.
  4. Place the request forms for each sample in a zip-lock bag and tape it to the inside cover of the shipping cooler.
  5. Samples that will not be received at the laboratory on the day of collection must be packaged for shipment with sufficient ice to ensure that they will be at 4° C upon arrival at the laboratory. Do not let the samples freeze, as this will cause the glass bottles to break.
  6. Send samples in as soon as possible after collection to allow for analysis. Some samples must be analyzed within 7 days of collection to meet EPA holding requirements. Samples must be received by 10:00 AM Thursday for extraction on the regular Semi-volatile schedule.
  7. The shipping address is listed on the top of each request form.

NOTE: To schedule sampling, and obtain bottles and other supplies, please contact Michael Trujillo @ 505-383-9030 or Natsaran Gottlieb @ 505-383-9036.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

Samples are collected in 40 mL VOC vials, which are supplied by the laboratory.

Sample Collection and Preservation with Acid

Sample Preparation for Shipment

  1. Invert and lightly tap the samples on their tops to ensure that no air bubbles are in the vials.
  2. Chill the samples to 4° Celsius at the time of sample collection. The samples must be maintained at this temperature until analysis.
  3. Field samples that will not be received at the laboratory on the day of collection must be packaged for shipment with sufficient ice to ensure that they will be at 4 degrees Celsius on arrival at the laboratory. Do not let the samples freeze, as this will cause the bottles to break.
  4. Send samples in as soon as possible after sampling in order to allow for analysis. Samples must be analyzed within 14 days of collection.

NOTE: To obtain VOC-I sampling bottles or hydrochloric acid for sample preservation, please contact Xiaoyin Xiao @ 505-383-9031 or Michael Trujillo @ 505-383-9030.

Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids (TTHM and HAA5)

Samples are collected in a set of 40 mL clear glass vials and a set of 60 mL dark glass vials, which are supplied by the Scientific Laboratory. Each sample kit contains one set of clear 40 mL vials for the TTHMs and one set of dark 60 mL vials for the HAA5s, along with a seven-digit RID sample labels for each vial. TTHM vials are provided containing sodium thiosulfate, a white granular de-chlorinating agent. HAA5 vials contain ammonium chloride, a white granular de-chlorinating agent.

Sample Collection and Preservation

  1. Collect all samples in duplicate.
  2. Both the TTHM and HAA5 samples are collected from locations within the public water distribution system where the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has identified as having the highest historical concentrations of dis-infection by-products under the Stage 2 Dis-Infection By-Products Rule. Please contact the NMED Drinking Water Bureau for the Stage 2 DBP sampling locations within your water system.
  3. Stabilize the water temperature and output by running the water for about 10 minutes at a low flow of approximately 1 pint per minute.
  4. Reduce the flow slightly and fill the clear glass 40 mL sample vial until it is completely full using care not to flush the sodium thiosulfate out of the vial. The water should form a convex meniscus on top of the vial, but not overflow significantly. Do not rinse the vial out before filling.
  5. Seal the vial with the smooth (Teflon) side of the septum in the cap toward the sample. No air bubbles should pass through the bottle as it is being filled or be trapped in the sample as the bottle is sealed.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for the second clear vial.
  7. Now fill the dark glass 60 ml sample vial until it is almost full using care not flush out the ammonium chloride out of the vial.
  8. Seal the vial with the cap. The presence of air in the vials is acceptable.
  9. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 for the second dark vial.

Sample Preparation for Shipment

  1. Invert and lightly tap the samples on their tops to ensure that no air bubbles are in the clear 40 mL vials for the TTHMs.
  2. Ensure that all the sample vials are labeled with the seven-digit RID identification label.
  3. Each sample sent for analysis should be accompanied by an analysis request form which has the same RID label as the TTHM and HAA5 vials in the kit.
  4. Chill the samples to 4 degrees Celsius at the time of sample collection.
  5. Samples that will not be received at the laboratory on the day of collection must be packaged for shipment with sufficient ice to ensure that they will be at 4° Celsius upon arrival at the laboratory. Do not let the samples freeze, as this will cause the vials to break.
  6. Place the analysis request forms for each sample in a zip-lock bag and tape it to the inside cover of the shipping cooler. Using an indelible marker, label the inside of the cooler’s lid with your return address if you want it to be shipped back to you.
  7. Send samples in as soon as possible after sampling in order to allow the laboratory time for analysis. Samples must be analyzed within 14 days of collection.

NOTE: To obtain TTHM and HAA5 vials for sampling, request ID stickers, or request forms, please contact Xiaoyin Xiao @ 505-383-9031.