On-Site Environmental Testing
The use of on-site environmental testing for soil (and groundwater) provides accurate, real-time results, allowing field staff to confidently direct field work and communicate results without wasting any time or waiting for off-site lab tests.
Additionally, the data can be imported into GIS based data management and analysis software to generate real-time site maps and crossections showing contaminant trends and information gaps. This means accurate, efficient environmental work on your sites.
Preparation for on-site environmental testing begins before staff arrive on site, starting with the right equipment. This all depends on the contaminants that the team is looking for – metals, PHCs, VOCs, or something else. The team chooses the right sampling equipment for the contaminants – UVF for PHCs, XRF for metals, PID for volatile organics (VOCs) and so on. Before visiting the site, the team will also make a sampling plan for initial samples.
AEL arrives on site with equipment ready to go in their mobile lab trailer, which means samples can be analyzed quickly regardless of weather conditions. From there, the team begins an iterative sampling process. Samples are taken (from surface soil, boreholes, or pits) and prepared for analysis. The results from the analysis are accurate and precise and will help the project manager to choose areas for further sampling.
To understand the benefit of on-site sampling, imagine a photo with 1,000 pixels – but you can only see 5 of the pixels. They’re perfectly sharp, with great resolution, but you only see a small fraction of the photo and likely don’t know what you’re looking at.
Now imagine the same picture, but 500 of the pixels are revealed. The catch is, they’re a bit fuzzy. However – you have a much better idea of what the picture is because you have much more data. In the same way, on-site testing gives much more information than a few traditional laboratory samples. It can guide the team to find hot spots (areas of contamination) and focus in on delineating impacts very quickly.
The data from the testing equipment is captured in GIS, which allows for easy data visualization on maps of the site. This makes understanding impacts easy for both the team and the client, and remediation can be directed confidently and accurately
Continuous Sampling – Waterloo Profiler
Continuous geological logging of soil samples is fairly common in the environmental industry. Made popular through the use of direct push sampling equipment, this has allowed visual identification of key geological information like grain size and bedding planes for the entire sampling location. Similarly, advances in technology now allow near continuous sampling of groundwater while providing indirect measurement of the physical subsurface characteristics of permeability and soil grain size.
This is important because dissolved groundwater plumes indicate contaminant mobility, a primary risk factor for site and adjacent property owners. Understanding the why and how of plume movement, particularly through the use of plume transects, is vital to understanding the site, managing risk and achieving remediation goals.
Using a Waterloo Profiler, AEL maps pressure resistance at the drive point [an indication of permeability and grain size] and extracts discrete groundwater [or soil gas] samples at any chosen depth interval. Sample analysis, either by standard laboratory or on-site testing methods then correlate to site geology and groundwater profiles in understanding the distribution of dissolved contaminants in the subsurface. When completed on-site in near real time it allows the site assessment work to be adjusted dynamically in response to the information collected.