Passive soil gas survey

In Israel, there are hundreds of sites with contaminated soil and/or underground water. In most cases, these sites are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile compounds, such as fuel components, organic solvents, explosives, pesticides etc.

According to Ministry of Environmental Protection procedures for conducting soil surveys in filling stations and industrial areas, a historical survey should be conducted first, and then a soil gas survey should be carried out, based on the findings of the historical surveys

The soil gas survey is a critical stage in locating contamination hotspots and in classifying the contaminants that must be tested. (The survey may be carried out by the active or passive method) Based on analysis of the soil gas survey findings, a drilling camapgin is conducted –in suspected hotspots revealed by the soil gas survey.

The passive soil gas survey enables us to carry out a more efficient and focused review of site contamination during the soil survey.

According to the sampling methodology, designated absorbents are installed in the soil by narrow (2.5 cm) drill to a depth of 1 meter. After the installation of the samplers, these bores are sealed and the samplers are left in the soil for several days. They are then collected and sent for analysis at the Beacon laboratory in the USA. The resulting output is a table of quantities for each sampler and for each tested material, as well as two-dimensional color maps showing the suspected contaminated hotspots on the site.

The passive method facilitates discovery and identification of a wide range of volatile and semi-volatile contaminants, chlorinated organic compounds (TCE, PCE), fuel components (PAH’s, MTBE, BTEX, naphthalene etc…) and all fuel hydrocarbons (TPH), pesticides (Linden for example), explosives (TNT), etc.

Passive sampling offers these advantages: higher sensitivity and a wide range of chemicalss that can be identified, including in case of contamination by semi-volatile compounds (such as the case  case of diesel fuel contamination, the Ministry of Environmental Protection requires the use of the passive method). This method is also efficient in cases of soil with low permeability and high saturation levels, as well as in locating contamination hotspots in groundwater plumes. Use of this method is simple and easy, enabling surveys of very large sites (tens of acres) to be carried out.

In order to conduct passive soil gas surveys, our company uses PSG absorbents from Beacon Environmental, USA. This method has been successfully implemented on a large scale in the USA (US Army, Texaco, EPA, Exxon, GE. etc.) and in Israel (filling stations, pharmaceutical industries, defense industries, chemical plants, military facilities, etc.)

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