Superfund Sites Services
One of Minnich and Scotto’s areas of specialty is the design and execution of measurement programs which employ innovative, open-path spectroscopic analysis techniques for assessing air emissions from Superfund sites. Application of optical remote sensing (ORS) technologies can provide substantial value-added engineering in many instances. There are many applications for which ORS-based technologies offer the only viable monitoring method. Open-path Fouriertransform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is the most versatile ORS technology, but open-path ultraviolet (UV) and tunable diode laser (TDL) spectroscopy represent the ORS technology of choice for certain classes of compounds and applications.
Regardless of which particular technology is employed, optical remote sensing, when coupled with appropriate onsite meteorological data, can generate accurate emission-rate estimates for many toxic compounds. These emission rates can then be used as input information to dispersion models to predict downwind air quality impacts in near-real-time (on the order of seconds).
The ability to provide accurate estimate-rate estimates and offsite impact assessments makes the technology ideal for Superfund-type applications such as:
- Compliance with health-based, perimeter action levels during site remediations
- Emission-factor development during pilot-scale clean-ups to optimize remediation processes and support air permit procurement
- Assessment of landfill gas-collection system efficiencies
Concerning the site remediation application, it has been our experience that the “high-tech” nature of the ORS technology invariably leads to community appeal and positive public perception. Total fenceline coverage (the “eye which never sleeps”) allays public fear. Such community appeal, in turn, benefits regulatory agencies as there is less public opposition to the selected clean-up remedy. Systems can be configured for automated operation and offsite data transmittal to facilitate decision-making.
Because information is obtained along an entire pathlength instead of at a single point in space, data representativeness and comparability are unequaled when compared to point monitoring. This also means that small, discrete plumes which might otherwise pass between two point monitors are not missed.
An infinite “sample holding” time exists, as analysis information is stored as an electronic document. This means that the ORS data can be re-examined at a later date for evidentiary reasons, or even re-analyzed should an additional target contaminant be later identified. Any sample collection error is eliminated, as there is no “sample” per se; the media is unaffected by measurement method.
Finally, no calibration is required, as the instrument is intrinsically calibrated. Only daily precision and accuracy assessments need to be made.