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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)


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

  ETV Soil Sampling Technology - Simulprobe Technologies, Inc. Core Barrel Sampler
August 1998

The Core Barrel Sampler is a soil sampling tool capable of collecting unconsolidated subsurface material to depths that depend on the capability of the advancement platform. The Core Barrel Sampler can be advanced into the subsurface with direct-push platforms, drill rigs, or manual methods. The Core Barrel Sampler was demonstrated in May and June 1997 at two sites: the Small Business Administration (SBA) site in Albert City, Iowa, and the Chemical Sales Company (CSC) site in Denver, Colorado. These sites were chosen because each has a wide range of volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations and because each has a distinct soil type. The Core Barrel Sampler was compared to a reference method (hollow-stem auger drilling and split-spoon sampling) in terms of the following parameters:

  1. sample recovery,
  2. VOC concentrations in recovered samples,
  3. sample integrity,
  4. reliability and throughput, and
  5. cost.

The demonstration data indicate the following performance and cost characteristics:

  1. Average sample recoveries for the Core Barrel Sampler were higher in clay soil and lower in sandy soil.
  2. There was a statistical difference between the VOC concentrations for two of the twelve Core Barrel Sampler and reference sample method pairs at the CSC site.
  3. The integrity of the unlined chamber of the Core Barrel Sampler was not preserved, in eight of the fourteen integrity tests, when the sampler was advanced through highly contaminated soils.
  4. The Core Barrel Sampler reliability to collect a sample in the first attempt was lower than that of the reference sampling method in both clay and sandy soils.
  5. The average retrieval time for the Core Barrel Sampler was quicker then the reference method in clay soil but slower in sandy soil.
  6. The Core Barrel Sampler costs for both clay soil and sandy soil sites were lower than the reference sampling method.
  7. The cost depends on the amount of samples required, the sample retrieval time, soil type, sample depth, and the disposal costs associated with drill cuttings. A site-specific cost and performance analysis is recommended before selecting a subsurface soil sampling method since with any technology selection, the user must determine what is appropriate for the application and project data quality.

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