Rapid In-Field Analysis of Crude Oil Contamination in Soil

Poster Presentation

Prepared by R. Stewart1, T. Chin2, G. Webster1, A. Toop1
1 - Ziltek, 40-46 West Thebarton Road, Thebarton, SA, 5031, Australia
2 - ALS Technichem (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, No 21, Jalan Astaka U8/84, Shah Alam, 40150, Malaysia

Contact Information: richard.stewart@ziltek.com; +61 8 8152 9390


Current industry practice for analyzing crude oil contamination in soil involves sending soil samples to an off-site laboratory for the analysis of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), with standard turnaround times of 5-10 days. This is relatively costly, time-consuming process and limits the amount of data points that can be collected due to budgetary considerations.
A novel handheld infrared technology (marketed by Ziltek as RemScan) can be used to measure crude oil contamination infield in soil in less than 20 seconds, with similar performance to gas chromatography-based laboratory assays. This disruptive technology is being utilized by the oil industry to accelerate site closure, cut laboratory analysis costs and to collect more data points for better sampling statistics and increased confidence.
In this study, a number of crude oil contaminated soil samples representing a range of soil textures and TPH concentrations were collected from multiple project sites, including from the Middle East, North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. Samples were prepared and scanned with the infrared device and then sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis of TPH (C10-C36) using USEPA Method 3570:8015C. The resulting data was used to calibrate the device for each of the sites, and the device was then used to predict the TPH concentrations in a number of blind validation samples from each site.
This paper will present a statistical comparison of the infrared device measurements against the laboratory assay data. It will also present an assessment of false negatives/positives in relation to commonly used site remediation targets.