Brent Pautler Coauthored a Paper on a Review of Peeper Passive Sampling Approaches

Brent Pautler, PhD coauthored a paper entitled “A review of peeper passive sampling approaches to measure the availability of inorganics in sediment porewater” that is being published on July 1, 2023 in the Environmental Pollution journal in Volume 328.

Florent F. Risacher is the lead author, and his coauthors were Haley Schneider, Ilektra Drygiannaki, Jason Conder, Brent G. Pautler, and Andrew W. Jackson.

Brent is a Chemistry Services Manager based in Guelph, Ontario with more than 10 years of experience focused on spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, passive sampling, and chemistry informatics.

Environmental Pollution is an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes high quality research papers and review articles about all aspects of environmental pollution and its effects on ecosystems and human health. The journal welcomes high-quality process-oriented and hypothesis-based submissions that report results from original and novel research and contribute new knowledge to help address problems related to environmental pollution at a regional or global scale.

Publication Highlights

  • Passive sampling for regulatory decisions at sites impacted by inorganics are encouraged.
  • Method standardization of peeper samplers that would further encourage use.
  • Improvements include geometry, pre-equilibration sampling and effect of oxygen.


Sediment porewater dialysis passive samplers, also known as “peepers,” are inert containers with a small volume of water (usually 1–100 mL) capped with a semi-permeable membrane. When exposed to sediment over a period of days to weeks, chemicals (typically inorganics) in sediment porewater diffuse through the membrane into the water. Subsequent analysis of chemicals in the peeper water sample can provide a value that represents the concentrations of freely-dissolved chemicals in sediment, a useful measurement for understanding fate and risk. Despite more than 45 years of peeper uses in peer-reviewed research, there are no standardized methods available, which limits the application of peepers for more routine regulatory-driven decision making at sediment sites. In hopes of taking a step towards standardizing peeper methods for measuring inorganics in sediment porewater, over 85 research documents on peepers were reviewed to identify example applications, key methodological aspects, and potential uncertainties. The review found that peepers could be improved by optimizing volume and membrane geometry to decrease the necessary deployment time, decrease detection limits, and provide sufficient sample volumes needed for commercial analytical laboratories using standardized analytical methods. Several methodological uncertainties related to the potential impact of oxygen presence in peeper water prior to deployment and oxygen accumulation in peepers after retrieval from sediment were noted, especially for redox-sensitive metals. Additional areas that need further development include establishing the impact of deionized water in peeper cells when used in marine sediment and use of pre-equilibration sampling methods with reverse tracers allowing shorter deployment periods. Overall, it is expected that highlighting these technical aspects and research needs will encourage work to address critical methodological challenges, aiding in the standardization of peeper methods for measuring porewater concentrations at contaminated regulatory-driven sediment sites.

More Information

Learn more about the article: A review of peeper passive sampling approaches – ScienceDirect

PDF of publication: SPeeper Publication.pdf

Learn more about the Journal: Environmental Pollution | Journal | by Elsevier

For consultation regarding passive samplers, contact Brent Pautler at:

Learn more about SiREM’s passive samplers at: Pore Water Passive Samplers – SiREM (