Standardization News

Collecting Contaminated Samples

ASTM International’s Committee on Soil and Rock is developing a standard that will help people who collect soils contaminated with volatile organic compounds. The proposed standard (WK37133, Guide for Using a Disposable Handheld Soil Core Samplers for the Collection and Storage of Soil for Volatile Organic Analysis) describes how to collect and store soils in handheld, disposable containers.

ASTM member Brian Schumacher, associate director of science, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Exposure Research Laboratory, notes that soils are sampled to determine contamination levels of compounds like benzene, toluene, and xylenes (from petroleum products) as well as perchloroethylne (from dry cleaner fluid) and trichloroethylene (a strong degreaser). Disposable samplers with airtight seals can work for up to 48 hours without loss of these compounds. Among other benefits, this allows for shipping to laboratories without chemical preservatives.

Field samplers and planners, as well as regulators, will use the proposed standard when deciding how to collect contaminated samples. In addition, labs will be able to use the standard to prepare for receipt and processing of samples in these types of containers. Consumers in the market for disposable handheld samplers will also find the standard helpful.
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ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock Next Meeting: Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, 2017, January Committee Week, Norfolk, Va.

Technical Contact: Brian Schumacher, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tel +1.702.798.2242
ASTM Staff Contact: Robert Morgan, tel +1.610-832-9732

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