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Predicting amount of oil in contaminated soils
Date:6/9/2010

MADISON, WI, June 9th, 2010 Scientists are reporting a new technique for mapping and testing oil-contaminated soils. Traditionally, samples need to be collected from the field and returned to a lab for extensive chemical analysis, costing time and money when neither is readily available during a clean-up operation. The new method can take measurements in the field and accurately predict the total amount of petroleum contaminants in moist, unprepared soil samples.

The research team led was by soil scientists David Weindorf from Louisiana State University, Cristine Morgan of Texas Agrilife Research, and John Galbraith from Virginia Tech. The method they investigated used visible near infrared light with diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, shining a light on a sample and reading the reflecting wavelengths. This allowed the researchers to rapidly evaluate soils for the presence and amount of oil contamination quickly while in the field, without sending a sample to a laboratory and waiting for test results. The technique was used to predict total petroleum hydrocarbons in a variety of soils in southern Louisiana.

Results from the study were reported in the July-August 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, a publication of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. Funded by the Louisiana Applied Oil Spill Research Program, the research was also presented at Clean Gulf 2009 in New Orleans, LA and the 2009 Soil Science Society of America International Annual Meetings in Pittsburgh, PA.

The study results demonstrated that the new method provided acceptable predictions of oil contamination compared to more traditional laboratory testing. The most successful method for scanning the materials was without additional drying and grinding, which released volatile hydrocarbons and caused inaccurate measurements. This indicates that on-site scanning of soils impac
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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert  

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