The primary objective of all sampling activities is to characterize a site accurately so that its impact on human health and the environment can be properly evaluated. The secondary objective is to determine the physical properties that are essential to the design of a remediation system. It is only through sampling and analysis that site hazards can be measured and the job of cleanup and restoration can be accomplished effectively with minimal risk. Currently, billions of dollars are being spent on characterizing pollution problems in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Most of these funds are spent drilling wells, collecting samples, and analyzing these samples at laboratories. With increased pressure to characterize sites faster and cheaper, this approach is considered costly and time consuming.
The use of new technologies could result in cost savings and faster characterization of sites. However, barriers do exist to the use of new technologies including lack of investment capital, unwillingness to take risks, difficulties in convincing regulators and potential customers the product can do what it claims, lack of credible performance data, and failure to establish Data Quality Objectives that relate data needs to probable remedies. Currently, there is a lack of relevant, integrated, and easily accessible information on technology description, cost, and performance.
The Field Sampling and Analysis Technologies Matrix (Matrix) and accompanying Reference Guide are intended as an initial screening tool to provide users with an introduction to innovative site characterization technologies and to promote the use of potentially cost-effective methods for on-site monitoring and measurement. To be listed on the Matrix, techniques and instruments must be: (1) fieldable, and (2) commercially available. The Reference Guide provides a description and additional background information on each technology. The use of this tool should help identify methods that emphasize the use of non-intrusive or minimally intrusive technologies in order to optimize sampling locations and minimize well installation. When combined with the analytical field instruments listed, the user should be provided with timely and reliable data to guide sampling investigations and minimize costs.
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