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Volume 2 (2002), Pages 1063-1069
Short Communication

Field—Based Supercritical Fluid Extraction of Hydrocarbons at Industrially Contaminated Sites

Cranfield Centre for Analytical Science, Cranfield University at Silsoe, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4DT, UK

Received 5 November 2001; Revised 28 February 2002; Accepted 10 March 2002

Copyright © 2002 Peggy Rigou et al.


Examination of organic pollutants in groundwaters should also consider the source of the pollution, which is often a solid matrix such as soil, landfill waste, or sediment. This premise should be viewed alongside the growing trend towards field-based characterisation of contaminated sites for reasons of speed and cost. Field-based methods for the extraction of organic compounds from solid samples are generally cumbersome, time consuming, or inefficient. This paper describes the development of a field-based supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) system for the recovery of organic contaminants (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons) from soils. A simple, compact, and robust SFE system has been constructed and was found to offer the same extraction efficiency as a well-established laboratory SFE system. Extraction optimisation was statistically evaluated using a factorial analysis procedure. Under optimised conditions, the device yielded recovery efficiencies of >70% with RSD values of 4% against the standard EPA Soxhlet method, compared with a mean recovery efficiency of 48% for a commercially available field-extraction kit. The device will next be evaluated with real samples prior to field deployment.