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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)

 EPA/600/R-01/088

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

  Field Measurement Technologies for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Soil Wilks Enterprise, Inc. Infracal® TOG/TPH Analyzer
September 2001

The Infracal® TOG/TPH Analyzer developed by Wilks Enterprise, Inc. (Wilks), was demonstrated under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Program in June 2000 at the Navy Base Ventura County site in Port Hueneme, California. The purpose of the demonstration was to collect reliable performance and cost data for the Infracal® TOG/TPH Analyzer and six other field measurement devices for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in soil. In addition to assessing ease of device operation, the key objectives of the demonstration included determining the (1) method detection limit, (2) accuracy and precision, (3) effects of interferents and soil moisture content on TPH measurement, (4) sample throughput, and (5) TPH measurement costs for each device. The demonstration involved analysis of both performance evaluation (PE) samples and environmental samples collected in five areas contaminated with gasoline, diesel, lubricating oil, or other petroleum products. The performance and cost results for a given field measurement device were compared to those for an off-site laboratory reference method, “Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste” (SW-846) Method 8015B (modified). During the demonstration, Wilks required 35 hours, 30 minutes, for TPH measurement of 215 samples. The TPH measurement costs for these samples were estimated to be $6,450 for the Infracal® TOG/TPH Analyzer compared to $44,410 for the reference method. The method detection limits were determined to be 76 and 4.79 milligrams per kilogram for the device and reference method, respectively. During the demonstration, the device exhibited sensitivity to interferents that are petroleum hydrocarbons (methyl-tert-butyl ether and Stoddard solvent) and lack of sensitivity to interferents that are not petroleum hydrocarbons (tetrachloroethene; 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene; and humic acid). The device exhibited good precision for soil and liquid PE samples but not for environmental samples. The device TPH results (1) did not compare well with the reference method results and (2) were significantly impacted by soil moisture content (for diesel soil PE samples) and by turpentine, an interferent that is not a petroleum hydrocarbon. In addition, some of the items used during the sample preparation procedure made the TPH measurement procedure less simple and more time-consuming during the demonstration. Collectively, these demonstration findings indicated that the Infracal TOG/TPH Analyzer may be considered for TPH screening purposes; however, the user should exercise caution when considering the device for a field TPH measurement application requiring definitive results.

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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