U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Detection and Site Characterization

The purpose of this section is to identify analytical methods commonly used for detecting, measuring, and/or monitoring TCE that are available online, as well as to identify some innovative sample collection techniques. The intent is not to provide an exhaustive list of analytical methods, but to identify well-established, standard methods, particularly those used for environmental samples and approved by EPA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The analytical methods generally can be subdivided into those deployed in the field and those deployed in fixed facilities (keeping in mind that fixed facility equipment may be deployed to the field by mobile laboratory). The field equipment can be divided further into those that gather a sample in situ and those that bring the soil or water to the surface for further handling. Gas chromatography systems can be deployed in the field or in a fixed laboratory and have excellent detection limits for TCE (1 µg/L for water and 1 µg/kg for soil). Portable instruments might be somewhat higher (e.g., 5 µg/L for water and 50 µg/kg for soil). The field soil measurements generally are done by headspace analysis using a Henry's constant conversion calculation. Throughput for a portable instrument is on the order of 30 to 40 samples per day. Gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry also can be deployed in both fixed labs and the field and, as is shown below, several vendors offer portable equipment. Detection limits for GC/MS generally are somewhat higher than those for stand-alone GC systems; their throughputs vary by instrument maker, but for full analysis usually are not as high as the stand-alone GC systems.

Several recent developments for in situ sampling and analysis equipment have been sponsored primarily by the military in support of the cone penetrometer (CPT) Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) program. For example, the membrane interface probe (MIP) is mounted on a CPT rig rod and driven slowly into the ground. When the permeable membrane is heated, the heat causes volatile organic compounds to move across the membrane where they are captured by a flowing gas stream and carried to the surface for analysis by an ion-trap mass spectrometer. Detection limits in the low ppb range are obtainable for TCE.

Another type of instrument, the halogen-specific probe, also can be mounted on a CPT rod and driven into the ground. It operates on the same principle as the MIP in that a membrane is heated and volatile organics are mobilized into the probe. The mobilized chemicals move across a downhole analyzer that dehalogenates them and measures the halogens produced by this process. The instrument does not identify the contaminants of concern, but does provide a general idea of relative concentrations with depth.

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DNAPLs | Field Analysis | U.S. EPA ETV Program Verifications | In Situ Technologies | Laboratory Analysis | Sample Collection | Literature References


Adobe PDF LogoDense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs): Review of Emerging Characterization and Remediation Technologies
Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC). DNAPLs-1, 81 pp, 2000.

Reviews three general types of emerging DNAPL characterization technologies: geophysical, cone penetrometer, and in situ tracers.

Adobe PDF LogoEstimating Potential for Occurrence of DNAPL at Superfund Sites. Quick Reference Fact Sheet
C.J. Newell and R.R. Ross.
EPA Publication 9355.4-07FS, 10 pp, 1992.
Contact: Randall R. Ross, ross.randall@epa.gov

Adobe PDF LogoGeophysical Techniques to Locate DNAPLs: Profiles of Federally Funded Projects
Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (FRTR).
EPA 542-R-98-020, 31 pp, 1998.

Ground Water Issue: Assessment and Delineation of DNAPL Source Zones at Hazardous Waste Sites
B.H. Kueper and K.L. Davies.
EPA 600-R-09-119, 20 pp, 2009

This document provides a framework for assessing the presence of DNAPL and delineating the spatial extent of the DNAPL source zone, a priority at many sites due to the increasing use of in situ remediation technologies. The described strategy expands the applicability of the document to include both unconsolidated deposits and fractured bedrock, and encourage an iterative, flexible site investigation approach.

Adobe PDF LogoIn-Situ Characterization of Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids Using Partitioning Tracers
Gary A. Pope, D.C. McKinney, A.D. Gupta; R.E. Jackson; M. Jin.
DOE/ER/14720, 219 pp, 2000.

Adobe PDF LogoNegative Ion Sensors for Real-Time Downhole DNAPLs Detection
Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Cleanup CU-1089, 2003.

Adobe PDF LogoOptimal Search Strategy for the Definition of a DNAPL Source
G. Pinder, J. Ross, and Z. Dokou.
SERDP Project ER-1347, 154 pp, 2009

This report describes the search strategy developed for locating a DNAPL source area. The strategy uses a stochastic groundwater flow and transport model to calculate the concentration random field and its associated uncertainty. The algorithm has been tested successfully using various synthetic example problems of increasing complexity and also was used successfully for identifying a TCE DNAPL source at two field sites, Anniston Army Depot and Hunters Point Shipyard.

Adobe PDF LogoResults and Lessons Learned Interim Report: Altus AFB Site [Detailed Investigation of Vapor Intrusion]
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP). 110 pp, July 2005

This interim report presents results for the evaluation of vapor intrusion processes in Building 418 at Altus Air Force Base. The test building is a single-story, slab-on-grade office building underlain by a shallow ground-water plume of dissolved chlorinated solvents (PCE, TCE, and cis-1,2-DCE). The primary objective of the study is to identify and validate a limited site investigation scope that can provide an accurate and reliable evaluation of vapor intrusion at corrective action sites. This report discusses sampling analysis procedures and results, data interpretation, preliminary conclusions, and lessons learned.

Adobe PDF LogoSite Characterization Technologies for DNAPL Investigations
U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
EPA 542-R-04-017, 165 pp, 2004.

Adobe PDF LogoTechnology Overview: An Introduction to Characterizing Sites Contaminated with DNAPLs
Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), 73 pp, Sep 2003.

Field Analysis

Adobe PDF LogoBioavailable Ferric Iron (BAFeIII) Assay: ESTCP Cost and Performance Report
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, ESTCP Project ER-0009, 43 pp, Feb 2007

This report describes the demonstration and validation at four DoD installations of a novel analytical technology: a bioavailable ferric iron (BAFe[III]) assay. BAFe(III) is defined as ferric iron (Fe[III]), a form that is capable of being reduced by microorganisms that oxidize another chemical species and derive energy from the electron transfer. BAFe(III) is an important terminal electron acceptor with significant assimilative capacity in many natural environments. Dissolved ferrous iron (Fe[II]) in ground water typically is measured to assess Fe(III) reduction and calculate assimilative capacity, but this measurement underestimates the terminal electron accepting process because most Fe(II) remains bound to the soil. Dissolved Fe(II) also gives no indication of the amount of Fe(III) present in aquifer soil that is bioavailable. BAFe(III) in the soil must be measured to quantify the true assimilative capacity of an aquifer. Iron-reducing bacteria (FeRB) use and are dependent on BAFe(III). FeRB are known to oxidize or mineralize organic compounds, such as benzene, toluene, VC, and MTBE. Continued FeRB activity over a period of years is dependent on the presence of sufficient BAFe(III). BAFe(III) also can affect reductive dechlorination in monitored natural attenuation and enhanced anaerobic biodegradation (EAB) applications. The reductive dechlorination of TCE can stall at cDCE at high levels of BAFe(III), and further reductive dechlorination can be inhibited; therefore, knowledge of the BAFe(III) concentration can indicate the potential for incomplete reductive dechlorination of TCE. It also can be used for planning EAB remedies. If the BAFe(III) concentration is high enough to inhibit cDCE reductive dechlorination, reductive dechlorination of TCE to cDCE and VC followed by oxidative biodegradation of VC and possibly cDCE under iron-reducing conditions may be a better approach. The assay has an incubation time of 30 days.

Adobe PDF LogoField Demonstration and Validation of a New Device for Measuring Water and Solute Fluxes at CFB Borden
K. Hatfield, M.D. Annable, and P.S.C. Rao.
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, NTIS: ADA468536, 153 pp, 2006

At Canadian Forces Base Borden, three different passive flux meter (PFM) field tests were conducted in which PCE, TCE, and MTBE were the primary contaminants of interest. Test 1 used an on-site subsurface flow channel where ground-water flow could be controlled, and MTBE fluxes could be calculated from monitored concentrations for comparison PFM measurements. Test 2 involved a fence-row of flux meters deployed downgradient from a controlled-release source zone where PFM measured ground-water, TCE, and PCE fluxes that were compared to independent estimates generated from other sampling sources. Test 3 measured water and PCE and TCE fluxes within the capture zone of a well designed to intercept an existing PCE/TCE plume.

Adobe PDF LogoField Demonstration and Validation of a New Device for Measuring Water and Solute Fluxes, NASA LC-34 Site
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), 172 pp, 2006

ESTCP passive flux meter (PFM) demonstration and validation projects include MTBE flux measurement at Port Hueneme, perchlorate flux at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indianhead, and TCE flux at NASA Launch Complex 34 at Cape Canaveral.

Adobe PDF LogoField Screening for Halogenated Volatile Organic Compounds: the New X-Wand™ HVOC Screening Device
J.F. Schabron, S.S. Sorini, and J.F. Rovani, Jr.
WRI 06-R009, 46 pp, 2006

Western Research Institute has developed new methodology and a test kit to screen soil or water samples for halogenated volatile organic compounds in the field. The device contains a heated diode sensor commonly used to detect leaks of refrigerants from air conditioners, freezers, and refrigerators. This sensor is selective to halogens but does not respond to volatile aromatic hydrocarbons, such as those in gasoline, and it is not affected by high humidity. An ASTM standard method has been approved as D 7203-05: Standard Test Method for Screening Trichloroethylene (TCE)-Contaminated Soil Using a Heated Diode Sensor.

Mass Flux Toolkit to Evaluate Groundwater Impacts, Attenuation, and Remediation Alternatives
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), 2006

To help site managers and site consultants estimate mass flux and understand the uncertainty in those estimates, ESTCP has funded the development of a computerized Mass Flux Toolkit, free software that gives site personnel the capability to compare different mass flux approaches, calculate mass flux from transect data, and apply mass flux to manage ground-water plumes. The toolkit spreadsheet and associated documentation are available on the ESTCP contractor's website in a zipped file.

Adobe PDF LogoInnovations in Site Characterization. Technology Evaluation: Real-Time VOC Analysis Using a Field Portable GC/MS
U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
EPA 542-R-01-011, 38 pp, 2001.

Adobe PDF LogoSampling and On-Site Analytical Methods for Volatiles in Soil and Groundwater. Field Guidance Manual
Hewitt, Alan D. and Karen F. Myers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Special Report 99-16, 20 pp, 1999.
Contact: Alan D. Hewitt, Alan.D.Hewitt@erdc.usace.army.mil

Adobe PDF LogoSite Characterization and Monitoring Technologies Technology Profile: On-Site Analysis of VOCs in Water
U.S. EPA, Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program. 2 pp, 2001
Contact: Eric Koglin, koglin.eric@epa.gov

Adobe PDF LogoUse and Measurement of Mass Flux and Mass Discharge
Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), Integrated DNAPL Site Strategy Team.
MASSFLUX-1, 154 pp, 2010

Mass discharge and flux estimates are used to quantify source or plume strength at a given time and location. This report summarizes the concepts underlying mass discharge and flux and their potential applications, and provides case studies (Appendix A) of the uses of these metrics. The text is written for readers having a general understanding of hydrogeology, the movement of chemicals (particularly DNAPL chemicals) in porous media, remediation technologies, and the overall remedial process.

U.S. EPA Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program Verifications

Contact: Teresa Harten, harten.teresa@epa.gov

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Field Portable Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer, Bruker-Franzen Analytical Systems, Inc. EM640™
EPA 600-R-97-149, 105 pp, 1997.

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Field-Portable Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer, Inficon, Inc., HAPSITE
EPA 600-R-98-142, 79 pp, 1998.

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Field-Portable Gas Chromatograph, Sentex Systems, Inc. Scentograph Plus II
EPA 600-R-98-145, 81 pp, 1998.

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Photoacoustic Spectrophotometer, Innova AirTech Instruments Type 1312 Multi-Gas Monitor
EPA 600-R-98-143, 75 pp, 1998.

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Field-Portable Gas Chromatograph, Perkin-Elmer Photovac, Voyager
EPA 600-R-98-144, 84 pp, 1998.

Adobe PDF LogoEnvironmental Technology Verification Report: Field-Portable Gas Chromatograph, Electronic Sensor Technology, Model 4100
EPA 600-R-98-141, 78 pp, 1998.

In Situ Technologies

Adobe PDF LogoMulti-State Evaluation of the Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System: Volatile Organic Compounds (SCAPS-VOC) Sensing Technologies
Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC). ASC-4, 53 pp, 1997.

Evaluation and approval of SCAPS-deployed hydrosparge VOC sensor for real-time in situ detection of VOCs below the water table.

Adobe PDF LogoTri-Service Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) Hydrosparge Volatile Organic Compound Sensor. Cost and Performance Report (CU-9603)
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), Arlington, VA. 37 pp, 2001.

Adobe PDF LogoTri-Service Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) Membrane Interface Probe. Cost and Performance Report (CU-9603)
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), Arlington, VA. 35 pp, 2002.

Adobe PDF LogoTri-Service Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) Thermal Desorption Sampler for Volatile Organic Compounds. Cost and Performance Report (CU-9603)
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), Arlington, VA. 41 pp, 2001.

Laboratory Analysis

Environmental Forensics: Contaminant-Specific Guide
Robert D. Morrison and Brian Murphy.
Elsevier Academic Press, Boston. ISBN: 0125077513, 576 pp, 2006

Environmental forensics is the application of scientific techniques for the purpose of identifying the source and age of a contaminant. This book discusses the following contaminants and contaminant groups: mercury, asbestos, lead, chromium, methane, radioactive compounds, pesticides, perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, chlorinated solvents, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, crude oil, gasoline, microbes, and compounds found in sewage.

Adobe PDF LogoA Guide for Assessing Biodegradation and Source Identification of Organic Ground Water Contaminants Using Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA)
D. Hunkeler, R.U. Meckenstock, B. Sherwood-Lollar, T.C. Schmidt, and J.T. Wilson.
EPA 600-R-08-148, 82 pp, 2008

When organic contaminants are degraded in the environment, the ratio of stable isotopes often will change, and the extent of degradation can be recognized and predicted from the change in the ratio of stable isotopes. Recent advances in analytical chemistry make it possible to perform CSIA on dissolved organic contaminants, including TCE and MTBE, at concentrations in water that are near their regulatory standards. This text provides general recommendations on good practice for sampling, measurement, data evaluation, and interpretation in CSIA.

Adobe PDF LogoIntegrated Stable Isotope-Reactive Transport Model Approach for Assessment of Chlorinated Solvent Degradation: User's Guide
Kuder , T., P. Philp, B. van Breukelen, H. Thouement, M. Vanderford, and C. Newell.
ESTCP Project ER-201029, 245 pp, 2014

The objective of this document is to help site managers apply a reactive transport modeling approach for improved CSIA data interpretation and to estimate more accurate attenuation processes for chlorinated solvents. Quantification of destructive and transport processes and how they contribute to plume size and longevity may help extend MNA remedies to sites previously unable to use them. The report contains a description of standard CSIA laboratory methods, simple data interpretation, and a step-by-step guide to downloading and using software developed as part of this project. The approach presented has benefits over traditional data interpretation, i.e., (1) improvement of a conceptual site model by identification and quantification of prevalent attenuation pathways and identification of secondary inputs from DNAPL dissolution or nondegradative sinks, such as sorption or volatilization, diffusion, or dispersion; (2) a more accurate assessment of degradation of the parent contaminant; (3) and quantitative assessment of the net degradation/accumulation of the dechlorination intermediates. Additional information: Final report and model input files

NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), 4th Edition
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113, 1994

Method 1022: Trichloroethylene
Method 3701: Trichloroethylene by portable GC

Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Wastes: Physical/Chemical Methods, 3rd Edition
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SW-846.

Section 5000 contains sample preparation methods for volatile organics; section 8000 contains the test methods.

Adobe PDF LogoMethod 8021B: Aromatic and Halogenated Volatiles by Gas Chromatography Using Photoionization and/or Electrolytic Conductivity Detectors
Method 8260B: Volatile Organic Compounds by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)
Method 8261 (Proposed): Volatile Organic Compounds by Vacuum Distillation in Combination with Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (VD/GC/MS)
[This method from Draft Update IVB is an update of Method 5032. It contains method-specific GC/MS information.]
Method 8265 (New): Volatile Organic Compounds in Water, Soil, Soil Gas and Air by Direct Sampling Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry (DSITMS)
Method 8535 (Proposed): Screening Procedure for Total Volatile Organic Halides in Water
[This colorimetric screening procedure to screen water samples for volatile halogenated organic compounds employs a commercially-available testing product and is not specific for any one halogenated compound. From Draft Update IVB.]

Sample Collection

Assessment of Subsurface Chlorinated Solvent Contamination Using Tree Cores at the Front Street Site and a Former Dry Cleaning Facility at the Riverfront Superfund Site, New Haven, Missouri, 1999-2003
J.G. Schumacher, G.C. Struckhoff, and J.G. Burken.
U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5049, 41 pp., 2004.

Comparison of Geoprobe® PRT and AMS GVP Soil-Gas Sampling Systems with Dedicated Vapor Probes in Sandy Soils at the Raymark Superfund Site
D. DiGiulio, C. Paul, B. Scroggins, et al.
EPA 600-R-06-111, 79 pp, 2006

A study was conducted to compare results of soil-gas sampling using dedicated vapor probes; a truck-mounted direct-push technique, the Geoprobe(r) Post-Run-Tubing system; and a hand-held rotary hammer technique, the AMS Gas Vapor Probe kit. For practical purposes, all three sample systems were considered approximately equivalent.

Guidance on the Use of Passive-Vapor-Diffusion Samplers to Detect Volatile Organic Compounds in Ground-Water-Discharge Areas, and Example Applications in New England
P.E. Church, D.A.Vroblesky, F.P. Lyford, and R.E. Willey.
U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4186, 90 pp, 2002.
Contact: Peter E Church, pchurch@usgs.gov

Adobe PDF LogoGuide for the Assessment of the Vapor Intrusion Pathway
D.N. Cox, W.B. Howard, and M.A. Smith.
IOH-RS-BR-SR-2006-0001, NTIS: ADA449121, 64 pp, 2006.

The primary focus of this Air Force-specific document is to provide a discussion of various approaches, problems, and solutions related to assessing and managing the vapor intrusion pathway. This guidance covers indoor air quality, air sampling and analysis, analytical methods, risk assessment, remediation, and risk management.

Adobe PDF LogoProtocol for Use of Five Passive Samplers to Sample for a Variety of Contaminants in Groundwater
Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) Diffusion/Passive Sampler Team.
DSP-5, 121 pp, Feb 2007

This guidance contains protocols for five passive sampling technologies: the Snap Sampler™ and Hydrasleeve™ (grab-type well water samplers); a regenerated-cellulose dialysis membrane sampler and a rigid, porous polyethylene sampler (diffusion/equilibrium-type samplers); and the GORE™ Module (a diffusion and sorption-type sampler).

Adobe PDF LogoStorage and Preservation of Soil Samples for Volatile Compound Analysis
Alan D. Hewitt, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Special Report 99-5, 27 pp, 1999.
Contact: Alan D. Hewitt, Alan.D.Hewitt@erdc.usace.army.mil

Adobe PDF LogoTechnical and Regulatory Guidance for Using Polyethylene Diffusion Bag Samplers to Monitor Volatile Organic Compounds in Groundwater
Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC). DSP-3, 78 pp, 2004.

User's Guide to the Collection and Analysis of Tree Cores to Assess the Distribution of Subsurface Volatile Organic Compounds
D.A. Vroblesky.
U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5088, 59 pp, 2008

Literature References

Measurement and Monitoring Technologies for the 21st Century Initiative (21M2) Literature Search
Through the Measurement and Monitoring Technologies for the 21st Century initiative, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) will identify and deploy promising measurement and monitoring technologies in response to waste management and site cleanup program needs by matching existing and emerging technologies with OSWER program and client needs.