ORTECH has provided material testing services for over 40 years to our clients in Ontario, other Provinces, the United States and occasionally in other countries. Our services include the direct analysis of materials for a variety of chemical and physical components as well the collection of off-gas samples from the materials followed by analysis for volatile compounds and odour.
Consumer and related products frequently discharge volatile organic compounds and other volatile compounds into the air during a process called off-gassing, particularly when these products are new. Examples are furniture and fabrics which can cause health problems in households or the workplace.
ORTECH uses various techniques to collect these compounds either on-site at residences, offices and other locations or in the laboratory using material samples.
Once the air samples have been analyzed the results can be compared with indoor air quality standards and guidelines to confirm if the discharges may be the cause of the health problems or the source of unpleasant odours.
ORTECH has a laboratory which is dedicated to the analysis of fuel gases for major components (methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, moisture, oxygen) as well as for minor components (other hydrocarbons, reduced sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide) and physical properties (heating value, compressibility, density, Wobbe index).
These fuel gases include natural gas, landfill gas and biogas from sources such as the anaerobic digestion of biosolids.
Odours may be released from a variety of industrial, commercial and consumer products. Frequently there is a need to quantify these odour emissions so that the material can be modified or reformulated to reduce the odour impact. Examples are the reformulation of paint at an automobile paint facility to address off-site odour complaints or to prevent packaging material odours from contaminating food products. Odour testing may also be conducted on merchandise recovered from a fire or flood to determine if it can be salvaged.
Samples for odour evaluation may be recovered from the material using a variety of techniques. Evaluation of the samples involves a determination of the odour detection threshold value and other odour parameters using an odour panel with an olfactometer. An odour panel is a group of six or more people screened to have a “normal” level of odour sensitivity and who are trained to assess odours. An olfactometer is a scientific device which is used to accurately dilute an odorous sample before it is presented to the panelists.
To comply with new and existing legislation in Ontario and elsewhere, ORTECH undertakes sampling and analysis of various biomass materials.
Examples are materials which must be analyzed include those specified under Ontario Regulation 267 to determine the odour classification of non-agricultural source material used as a nutrient for land application and Ontario Regulation 101 to determine the classification of municipal compost.