Explaining environmental sampling (Part I)

If an oil spill occurs in the local community’s watershed, how do we know if the drinking water is safe? What if a chemical leaks in a manufacturing facility? How do we determine whether workers should be allowed to re-enter the space? Here at CTEH, our skilled team provides expert consulting services, including environmental sampling, to address human health and environmental concerns related to potentially contaminated air, sediment, soil and water sources. But, what exactly does “environmental sampling” entail? Inside CTEH is here to explain:

What is environmental sampling, and why does CTEH do it?

Environmental sampling is the process of collecting representative samples of air, sediment, soil, water or other media. This type of sampling is conducted following spills or leaks to determine whether there are any chemicals or waste present. Sampling may also be conducted during the due diligence process of property transactions to assess whether there are chemicals present.

What tools does CTEH use to conduct sampling?

The tools we use vary depending on what is being sampled. For example, surface soils are collected with stainless steel spoons, trowels or shovels while soils from below the surface require augers or specialized tools attached to a drill rig. Generally, surface water is collected directly into laboratory-supplied containers; subsurface water from lakes or oceans is collected with a Kemmerer sampling device; and groundwater is typically collected with a bailer or pumps from monitoring wells. Air is sampled with pumps, absorbent media or directly into a certified stainless steel canister. Sediments from the bottom of streams and the ocean are often collected using spring-loaded clamshell dredges.

Want to learn more about environmental sampling? Stay tuned to Inside CTEH for Part II of “Breaking it down.” In the meantime, visit cteh.com to find out more about CTEH’s environmental services.