Launch Process & Obtaining Results
Everything you need to know in order to operate the CLAM and obtain an SPE disk cartridge that is ready for lab analysis.
CLAM Water Sampling Procedure
When using the CLAM, you’ll receive all the water sampling equipment necessary to provide the lab with the information required to deliver a low detection water quality analysis report.
The water analysis results generated during SPE extraction are of the highest caliber, yet the water sampling procedure is simple and easy to follow.
The section below outlines the water sampling procedure for obtaining the analysis results on an easily shippable, solid phase extraction media disk housed in a protective SPE cartridge.
Step 1: Pre Launch Information
Water Sampling Deployment Methods
The deployment method isn’t complex but should be carefully thought out so the most accurate results can be obtained. Many different deployment options are available for using this active water sampling device such as:
- Wading into shallow water and attaching the CLAM to a fixed structure
- Lowering the CLAM into the water via a steel chain or nylon chord
- Placing the water sampling equipment via a diver
Above are just a few examples but any method of securing the water sampling equipment should work fine, however it must not be secured to a buoy.
Best Practices for Positioning the Water Sampling Equipment
The eyelet on the end of the CLAM can be used with a cord or cable to secure, and tie-wraps and pipe clamps are other common methods to secure the body of the CLAM to a rebar, fencepost, or structure.
The water sampling pump, housed inside the CLAM shell, should be oriented away from the flow of water or positioned downward to reduce the potential for capturing floatables or excessive sediment.
Information about the Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) Cartridges Prior to Launch
A new SPE cartridge will come with Luer Lock plugs to keep the inside clean. Typically the lab that will conduct the water sample analysis will condition the disk prior to deployment.
A Sharpie pen can be used to put a unique identification on each SPE cartridge to correlate with the Chain of Custody form.
Before removing the Luer Lock plugs from the SPE cartridge or cartridges if being used in a 2- or 3-stage deployment (a pre-filter disk can be used in front of a media disk for total and dissolved studies), ensure that the CLAM is ready to be put in the water.
Test the Water Sampling Pump in Preparation for Deployment
Obtain four (4) new Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries and insert into the included battery pack. Plug the battery pack into the power connection to ensure the water sampling pump runs. This is done in the air and not in the water. The pump will not be hurt by running in air, but should never be run in the water without a mounted SPE cartridge as sediment will harm the water sampling pump. Unplug the battery pack after testing. There is no need to plug in the power supply again until all the water sampling equipment is ready to be assembled.
Remove the Luer Lock plugs from the SPE cartridge(s) and secure them to the CLAM. The Luer Locks will only connect when facing the correct direction, so if the SPE cartridge(s) fit securely, it is oriented correctly. The factory printed information on the disk(s) will face outward.
Plug in the battery pack to start the water sampling pump. Apply a few drops of water and rub around the O-Ring, and then tighten the battery pack housing snugly. Attach the end cap on the other end of the CLAM to protect the SPE cartridge(s). The CLAM should be running and ready for submersion.
Step 2: Deployment
Water Sampling Calibration of the CLAM
Once the anchoring method is determined and the water sampling equipment has been assembled, it is time to calibrate the flow rate of the CLAM. The calibration process will be performed up to three times depending on the duration of the water sampling cycle.
How to Perform Water Sampling Calibration of the CLAM
If working in or at the water surface, the calibration can be done directly in the water to be sampled. If being lowered into the water or deployed by divers, thoroughly rinse a 5-gallon bucket and then fill about three-fourths full with the same water to be sampled.
Attach the provided outlet tubing to the outlet-barbed connector on the CLAM housing; then attach the measuring syringe to the other end by pressing the tubing on the end or Luer Locking as shown in the picture. Have a second hand timepiece ready.
Submerge the CLAM in the water to be sampled and keep the syringe above the surface. Allow the system to run for a few minutes to stabilize flow. Holding the SPE cartridge end up, but still underwater, will help remove entrapped air.
Hold the syringe next to the CLAM in a vertical position just out of the water. Empty the syringe volume, hold upright and immediately begin timing. Try to keep the syringe at a level as to not induce too much head on the water sampling pump. The syringe can be held partially underwater as long as the tube seal is maintained.
At exactly 30 seconds, record the volume collected in the syringe on the Chain of Custody Sheet. Repeat this procedure for accuracy before the deployment. The recorded volume of water collected via the syringe during the calibration process is needed for the water testing labs to obtain low-detection levels.
Finally, remove the syringe and tubing from the CLAM so the water sampling equipment can be deployed.
While the water sampling pump is still activated, secure the CLAM to the deployment method already established. Let the unit perform the solid phase extraction for the planned time period. Record the time of deployment.
(Tip: Recording in military time will make the calculation process easier.)
Calibration During Water Analysis Period
If the duration of the deployment cycle is lengthy, it would be wise to perform another calibration of the water sampling equipment. To do this, remove the CLAM from the deployment apparatus, and keep submerged as much as possible. Repeat the same calibration steps as before and record the flow rate for the CLAM.
The CLAM must be calibrated again at retrieval. To do this, remove the CLAM from the deployment apparatus, and keep submerged as much as possible. Repeat the same calibration steps and record the final flow rate of the CLAM. The CLAM can now be removed from the water.
Step 3: Prepare SPE Cartridges for the Lab After Retrieval
Once the deployment cycle is over and the solid phase extraction has been completed, the SPE cartridge(s) must be prepared for transport to the Environmental Water Testing Laboratory.
The CLAM SPE cartridge(s) should be unscrewed and immediately resealed with the provided Luer Lock plugs.
Place the SPE cartridge(s) in a provided Mylar metalized shipping pouch with the Chain of Custody form and deliver or ship to the laboratory. Although testing has indicated that there is no degradation of the SPE cartridge(s) at room temperature, commercial laboratories are accustomed to receiving samples in a chilled condition.
Chain of Custody Form for Water Testing Labs
The Chain of Custody form lays out each value needed to determine the volume of water extracted through each SPE cartridge. Total time and average flow rate will yield the total volume of water extracted, which is required by the water testing labs to provide low detections.
An average flow rate in ml/min needs to be obtained, which can be calculated by doubling the 30 second value recorded during each calibration. This allows the total volume of water to be computed at the end of the deployment cycle. Once the form is completely filled out, it can be delivered or shipped to the water testing labs along with the SPE cartridges.Chain of Custody Form