An Introduction to Field Based Contaminated Land Measurements

Portable photoionisation detectors (PID) have become an important tool in the management of many contaminated land remediation projects and the following guide will explain the reasons behind their popularity, despite the challenges presented by field work.

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Hydrocarbon Contamination

Hydrocarbon contamination is frequently encountered in site investigations at brownfield sites, where elevated concentrations of oil and petroleum hydrocarbons in soil and groundwater systems present a risk to human health and the environment.

Hydrocarbon contamination is therefore one of the most common forms of pollution, which explains why portable photoionization detectors (PIDs) are the most commonly employed tool in the screening and characterisation of potentially contaminated sites.

The more significant groups of hydrocarbons that are either indicative of oil-based pollution or represent a significant human health or environmental hazard are BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

Portable PIDs can be used to test the air surrounding a potentially contaminated sample, or the sample of water or soil may be contained within a tube, jar or sample bag so that the VOCs are allowed to volatilise and accumulate. The PID can then be used to test the headspace inside the sample container.

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“An Introduction to Field Based Contaminated Land Measurements”

The following guide will explain the reasons behind the popularity of PID, despite the challenges presented by field work.


Download Guide

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An Introduction to Field Based Contaminated Land Measurements

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