Environmental Services Program
Environmental Emergency Response Field Services Unit
The Environmental Emergency Response/Field Services Section includes the Field Services Unit, which, in addition to performing emergency response duties, provides field support services for client programs within the department and other state agencies. Staff are part of the Environmental Emergency Response section and help provide field sampling support as needed on emergency response incidents that occur throughout the state. Consequently, staff are not only sampling experts, but are cross-trained as Environmental Emergency Response Duty Officers and On-scene Coordinators for the department.
Field Services Unit staff provide field support to the department’s Hazardous Waste Program. Unit personnel have the training, experience and equipment to conduct field investigations that involve collection and analysis of various environmental media and potential hazardous wastes at Superfund sites, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act-regulated facilities, leaking underground storage tank sites, and emergency response incidents.
The unit provides clients with technical document reviews, environmental assessment services, equipment, and extensive field sampling support services at a variety of abandoned hazardous waste sites, regulated facilities, and petroleum tank sites.
Personnel are proficient with several pieces of specialized in-house equipment used to collect high quality soil, water, and air samples for analysis. The department’s in-house laboratory analyzes a majority of samples collected to provide managers the information necessary to make decisions and assess risks posed by individual sites.
Examples of in-house equipment available for use at investigations
Ground Penetrating Radar
- Can be used to locate underground utilities and other buried objects
- Will detect subsurface soil disturbances and bedrock features
- Applications include petroleum storage tank investigations, landfill investigations, archeological investigations.
Field gas chromatography/ mass spectroscopy (Hapsite®)
- Portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, or GC/MS.
- High-quality field-screening data for identifying and quantifying volatile organic chemicals for real-time decision making in the field.
- Ability to analyze soil, water, air matrices.
- Applications may include determining horizontal and vertical extent of contaminants at a site and/or ruling out the presence of particular contaminants.
Hydraulic soil probe
- Direct-push technology equipment used for multiple applications in soil and other unconsolidated materials.
- Depth-discrete soil sampling.
- Continuous core soil sampling/profiling.
- Monitoring well installation (permanent and temporary) for groundwater sampling.
- In conjunction with other equipment to conduct in-situ soil gas investigations.
Robotic camera system
- Intrinsically-safe with 500 feet of cable.
- Real-time images sent to control module.
- 360° camera movement.
- Applications include:
- Examining sewer systems (as small as 4-inch diameter).
- Inspecting water well casings (as small as 2-inch diameter).
- Used in any dark confined space in place of live entry for reconnaissance.
Sensor HazMat ID
- Identifies organic and some inorganic solid and liquid compounds using infrared spectrophotometry.
- 23,000 compound library, with capability to add additional compounds to library when encountered.
- Wireless remote operation capable.
- Applications may include identifying unknown compounds (particularly when used with other available instrumentation).
Portable instrument used for determining the flammability of a liquid in assessing potential hazards.
Thermal Imaging Camera
Imaging based on heat signature
Applications may include:
- Identifying “hot spots” or leaks from pressurized cylinders.
- Determining liquid levels in storage vessels.
Various qualitative air monitoring instruments
Instruments are used to screen atmospheres and provide real-time information to personnel about potential hazards present.
Water quality instruments
Field Services staff utilize instruments such as pH, specific conductivity, and dissolved oxygen meters in assessing the water quality of surface water, wastewater and groundwater.
Various pumps for water sampling
Field Services staff have several types of pumps (e.g., submersible, peristaltic, and small diameter mechanical bladder pumps) available for use in groundwater sampling investigations.