Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Portable X-ray Fluorescence Analyzer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a demonstration of field portable X-ray fluorescence (FPXRF) analyzers, in April 1995, at the RV Hopkins site in Iowa and the ASARCO Tacoma Smelter in Washington. The primary objectives of this demonstration were to determine how well FPXRF analyzers perform in comparison to standard reference methods, to identify the effects of sample matrix variations on the performance of FPXRF, to determine the logistical and economic resources needed to operate these analyzers, and to test and validate an SW-846 draft method for FPXRF analysis. Two of the analyzers manufactured by TN Spectrace, the TN 9000 and the TN Pb Analyzer, were used in this demonstration. Based on a real-time basis, the TN Pb Analyzer reported fewer target analytes than the TN 9000 and used shorter count times. The shorter count times resulted in a nearly two- to threefold increase in sample throughput. Both the TN 9000 and the TN Pb analyzers provided definitive level quality data for arsenic, lead, zinc, and copper. There are special radiation safety training requirements and costs associated with this type of operation. The TN 9000 and the TN Pb Analyzer were both effective tools for field based analysis of metals contamination in soil and may allow investigation or remediation decisions to be made more efficiently on-site which may reduce the number of samples that need to be submitted for confirmatory analysis.