General Air Sampling Guidelines (PDF)

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Courtesy of US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) provides guidance in developing and implementing sampling plans to assess the impact of hazardous waste sites on ambient air. It presents the United States Environmental Protection Agency/Environmental Response Team's (U.S. EPA/ERT's) approach to air sampling and monitoring and identifies equipment requirements. It is not within the scope of this SOP to provide a generic air sampling plan. Experience, objectives, site characteristics, and chemical characteristics will dictate sampling strategy. This SOP does not address indoor air sampling. Two basic approaches can be used to assess ambient air (also referred to as air pathway assessments): modeling and measurements. The modeling approach initially estimates or measures the overall site
emission rate(s) and pattern(s). These data are input into an appropriate air dispersion model, which predicts either the maximum or average air concentrations at selected locations or distances during the time period of concern. This overall
modeling strategy is presented in the first three volumes of the Air Superfund National Technical Guidance Series on Air Pathway Assessments(1,2,3).

Specific applications of this strategy are presented in several additional Air Superfund Technical Guidance documents(4).  The measurement approach involves actually measuring the air impact at selected locations during specific time periods. These measurements can be used to document actual air impacts during specific time intervals (i.e., during cleanup operations) or to extrapolate the probable 'worst case' concentrations at that and similar locations over a longer time period than was sampled.

This SOP addresses issues associated with this second assessment strategy. This SOP also discusses the U.S. EPA/ERT's monitoring instruments, air sampling kits, and approach to air sampling and monitoring at hazardous waste sites. These are standard (i.e., typically applicable) operating procedures which may be varied or changed as required, depending on site conditions, equipment limitations, or limitations imposed by the procedure. In all instances, the ultimate procedures employed should be documented and associated with the final report.

Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute U.S. EPA endorsement or recommendation for use.

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