The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Near surface soil vapor clusters for monitoring emissions of volatile organic compounds from soils

TitleNear surface soil vapor clusters for monitoring emissions of volatile organic compounds from soils
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsErgas SJ, Hinlein ES, Reyes P.O., Ostendorf DW, Tehrany PS
JournalJournal of Air and Waste Management Association
Start Page118
Date Published01/2000

The overall objective of this research was to develop and test a method of determining emission rates of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other gases from soil surfaces. Soil vapor clusters (SVCs) were designed as a low dead volume, robust sampling system to obtain vertically resolved profiles of soil gas contaminant concentrations in the near surface zone. The concentration profiles, when combined with a mathematical model of porous media mass transport, were used to calculate the contaminant flux from the soil surface. Initial experiments were conducted using a mesoscale soil remediation system under a range of experimental conditions. Helium was used as a tracer and trichloroethene was used as a model VOC. Flux estimations using the SVCs were within 25% of independent surface flux estimates and were comparable to measurements made using a surface isolation flux chamber (SIFC). In addition, method detection limits for the SVC were an order of magnitude lower than detection limits with the SIFC. Field trials, conducted with the SVCs at a bioventing site, indicated that the SVC method could be easily used in the field to estimate fugitive VOC emission rates. Major advantages of the SVC method were its low detection limits, lack of required auxiliary equipment, and ability to obtain real-time estimates of fugitive VOC emission rates.