SAMPLING PASSIVELY FOR VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOSITES

SAMPLING PASSIVELY FOR VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOSITES

SAMPLING PASSIVELY FOR VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOSITES

A Canadian federal regulation stipulates the maximum amount of carcinogenic substances, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, that can be released into the environment. In this regard, petroleum and petrochemical facility operators are required to take measures to prevent leaks from equipment components such as valves, pumps, and connectors, as well as other possible sources. The measures allow them to maintain safe levels of exposure to potentially hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

BENZENE

The principal health concern from atmospheric VOC sampling is long-term exposure to low levels of known and potential carcinogens. Benzene is one of these non-threshold carcinogens, which can cause harmful effects at any level of exposure. According to the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Guidelines, one-hour benzene concentrations should not exceed 30 *g/m3. By adopting this standard, we will be protected from exposure to benzene.

OZONE

The majority of VOCs contribute to the net production of tropospheric ozone by interfering with the equilibrium to varying degrees. Peroxy radicals are produced photochemically by such VOCs in the presence of sunlight. Nitric oxide is then oxidized into nitrogen dioxide, which leads to ozone formation. Over long periods of time, ozone can damage plants and materials.

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FINANCIAL SAVINGS

Identification of the source of a VOC allows for more effective site maintenance programs. Reducing the loss of refined species can generate significant financial benefits. With the help of pinpointing the location of a VOC emission, a refinery in Sweden reduced VOC emissions and saved an estimated one million dollars per year.

BUREAU VERITAS: WORKING WITH THEM

Our Passive Air Monitoring group in Edmonton has proficiency with the analytical method EPA325B. Canadian federal regulations use this method to analyze VOCs and carcinogenic substances.

During the months of April through December, samples are collected every 14 days using a thermal desorption tube.

For the majority of our passive air projects, we use gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis to achieve industry-leading detection limits, as shown in Table 1. This level of detection is much lower than the regulations currently in place.

OUR TEST METHOD

Bureau Veritas’ test method involves exposing a thermal desorption tube to the elements for 2 weeks under our protective rain shelter. As soon as the tubes have been exposed, they are thermally desorbed and analyzed.

It is critical to pre-condition the TD tubes in order to achieve precise and accurate results. Our laboratory teams are trained and equipped to perform the pre-conditioning process. Tubes must be used within 30 days of being prepared, and batched sets of matched lab blanks, field blanks, and duplicates must be transported simultaneously. Every two weeks, new preconditioned batches should be sent out.

We offer the convenience of expert consulting as well as the analysis of six additional pollutants at our passive air laboratory. These include SO2, H2S, NO2, O3, NOx, and NH3.

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