Environmental Emergency Response Field Services Unit
The Field Services Unit performs emergency response duties and provides field support services for programs within the department and other state agencies. Staff also help provide field sampling support as needed.
Field Services Unit staff have the training, experience and equipment to conduct investigations to provide field support to the department’s Hazardous Waste Program. This involves 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
- Emergency response incidents
The unit also provides 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 with the information necessary to make decisions and assess risks posed by individual sites.
Examples of in-house equipment used at investigations include:
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.
Portable instrument used for determining the flammability of a liquid in assessing potential hazards.
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 thepresence of particular contaminants.
Water quality instruments
Field Services staff use instruments such as pH, specific conductivity, and dissolved oxygen meters in assessing the water quality of surface water, wastewater and groundwater.
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.
Various qualitative air monitoring instruments
Instruments are used to screen atmospheres and provide real-time information to personnel about potential hazards present.
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
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.
Infrared spectrophotometer 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).
Various pumps for water sampling
Field Services staff have several types of pumps (for example: submersible, peristaltic and small diameter mechanical bladder pumps) available to use in groundwater sampling investigations.