28 Apr 2021

Overview of Field-Based Analytical Techniques, Devices and Kits to Determine Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Soil

Report no. 3/21: Determination of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil has long been an area of active investigation and still attracting interest as there are important and complex environmental contaminants. Several standardised lab-based analytical techniques providing both accuracy and analytical precision are being used for their determination and quantification in soil. However, the procedures involved can be time-consuming and expensive, and therefore not always providing cost effective approaches to the assessment of sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons.

Over the past decade, the emergence of various field analytical techniques has enabled real-time petroleum hydrocarbons detection and on-site measurement, which has the potential to drastically reduce cost and time of analysis, sampling design and site assessment compared with traditional technologies. In this review, we have designed and developed a practical guide on the use of field analytical technologies to rapidly assess petroleum hydrocarbons in soil. The basic principle along the advantages and limitations of each field analytical technique, and the recent developments over the past years, are highlighted. The synthesis of information outlined in this review provides a firm foundation for an informed decision process in the selection of field analytical technologies for the detection and characterisation of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil.

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