SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Quality Assurance in Soil Gas Surveys: False Positive Acetone Identifications at a Codisposal Site


This paper points out the importance of quality assurance in soil gas surveys through the implementation of quality control measures. A soil gas survey was undertaken at the Cortese Landfill to assess vapor migration. Soil gas samples were analyzed from 54 locations for 15 volatile organic compounds by gas chromatograph (GC) methods. Quality control measures included GC calibration, replicate, spike and blank samples and analysis of split samples by an off site analytical lab. Acetone was detected at many of the soil gas sample locations at unexplainable concentrations relative to concentrations observed in groundwater. A second GC, equipped with a different column, was used to confirm presence of acetone, but at concentrations lower than those estimated using the first column. This indicated that coeluting compounds may have caused false positive results (misidentifications) in the earlier data. This approach to verification of field analytical data quality assurance proved to be beneficial in preventing costly additional sampling and analysis.

Author Information

Heins, TR
Kerfoot, HB
Miller, DJ
Peterson, DA
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 151–165
DOI: 10.1520/STP19126S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5182-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1462-3