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Determination of Volatiles in Soil - Directive for Change

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Determination of Volatiles in Soil - Directive for Change (PDF) (9pp, 25K About PDF) December 22, 1997

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It has been documented that soil sampling methods and soil sample preparation procedures used traditionally for analyses of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are inaccurate. This is because analytes are readily vaporized from investigational samples during collection, storage and laboratory subsampling. Biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons can be important for disturbed soils. In June, 1997, the U.S. EPA promulgated changes to the RCRA methods testing manual (Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste: Physical/Chemical Methods SW-846, 3rd Edition), incorporating two new techniques for determining VOC's concentrations in soil samples. Two methods (SW-846 - methods 5021 and 5035) replace method 5030 of Update II to SW-846, the heated purge and trap technique which was formerly used for RCRA testing of VOC's in soil matrices. The new methods enhance reporting accuracy through employment of a closed-system strategy and use of appropriate sample collection and preservation techniques. The new methods are summarized in this Regional Directive for Change, a document stressing that for Region 5 RCRA Facility Investigations, whenever soils are to be analyzed for VOC's, only the current methods may be used.


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