Soil gas was sampled using active sampling techniques and passive collectors at three sites in Tennessee to evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques for locating chlorinated solvent sources and flowpaths in karst aquifers. Actively collected soil gas samples were analyzed in the field with a portable gas chromatograph, and the passive soil gas collectors were analyzed in the lab with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Results of the sampling indicate that the effectiveness of both techniques is highly dependent on the distribution of the contaminants in the subsurface, the geomorphic and hydrogeologic characteristics of the site, and, in one case, on seasonal conditions. Both active and passive techniques identified areas of elevated subsurface chlorinated solvent concentrations at a landfill site where contamination remains concentrated in the regolith. Neither technique detected chlorinated solvents known to be moving in the bedrock at a manufacturing site characterized by thick regolith and an absence of surficial karst features. Passive soil gas sampling had varied success detecting flowpaths for chloroform in the bedrock at a train derailment site characterized by shallow regolith and abundant surficial karst features. At the train derailment site, delineation of the contaminant flowpath through passive soil gas sampling was stronger and more detailed under Winter conditions than summer.
Additional publication details
Soil gas screening for chlorinated solvents at three contaminated karst sites in Tennessee