Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Chemistry

First Advisor

Professor John Sapp


The Houston Ship Channel is one of the nation busiest seaports. The channel has been transporting goods to the sea since 1836. The oil and gas industry has started to emerge in Texas, leading to the building and construction of numerous refineries around the ship channel (Port of Houston, 2012). The basis of this research was to investigate the concentration of trace metals in the Ship Channel of Houston. Houston is known for its oil and gas refineries and also the heavy metals that might be discharged through waste associated with surrounding industries. The Ship Channel has a large amount of refineries as compared to other parts of Houston and surrounding areas. There are also many individuals that fish and crab for recreational purposes in this same channel and are not aware of what trace metals that maybe in the water. The water samples were collected in different regions of the channel using proper protocols. In order to detect these trace metals, researchers use a variety of scientific instruments to determine the concentrations of these elements according to the locations. 1 2 One instrument used is the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry designed for detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1012 (part per trillion) (Vela, 1993). It is based on inductively coupled plasma as a method of producing ions (ionization) with a mass spectrometer and separating and detecting the ions. The working software used for the data analysis was Win Lab 32.