Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a technique used to detect and characterize organic vapors in air. Ion mobility spectrometry analysis is based on analyte separations resulting from ionic mobilities rather than ionic masses. A sampling pump draws air through a semipermeable membrane, which is selected to exclude or attenuate possible interferents. The sample is ionized in a reaction region through interaction with a weak plasma of positive and negative ions produced by a radioactive source. A shutter grid allows periodic introduction of the ions into a drift tube, where they separate based on charge, mass, and shape with the arrival time recorded by a detector. The identity of the molecules is determined using a computer to match the signals to IMS signatures held in memory. If the IMS signature is known, it is also possible to program the instrument to detect specific compounds of interest. IMS operates at atmospheric pressure, a characteristic that has practical advantages over mass spectrometry, including smaller size, lower power requirements, less weight, and ease of use.
Site types that are associated with this technology are listed below. Click on the name of the site type to view details.
|Site Type||Explosives||Fuels||Halogenated SVOCs||Halogenated VOCs||Nonhalogenated SVOCs||Nonhalogenated VOCs|
|Chemical and dye manufacturing|
|Landfills, municipal and industrial|
|Machine shops and metal fabrication|
|Manufactured gas plants and coal gasification|
|Metal plating and finishing|
|Metal recycling and automobile salvage|
|Painting and automobile body repair|
|Pesticide manufacturing and use|
|Petroleum refining and reuse|
|Photographic film manufacturing and development|
|Printing and ink manufacturing|
|Research and educational institutions|
|Underground storage tanks|
|Wood pulp and paper manufacturing|
Feed supply and other agricultural chemical distribution points may be contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Groundwater, drainage area sediments, soils, and nearby surface waters may be contaminated with pesticides and herbicides and could exhibit elevated levels of nitrate from fertilizer runoff. Contamination at agricultural sites may also arise from chemicals used to operate, clean, and maintain farm equipment such as fuel, oil, grease, and solvents. (Learn more ...)
A wide range of chemicals are used and generated in facilities that manufacture, reformulate, and package chemicals and dyes for commercial and industrial use. The types of contaminants released depend on the raw materials, processes, equipment, and maintenance practices used. Environmental contamination resulting from chemical and dye manufacturing may persist in nearby or downstream surface waters or sediments long after operations have ceased. Moreover, chemical operations can change over time or involve multiple processes; therefore, the sites may be overlaid with several generations of wastes from a variety of products or processes. Many chemical facilities also have quality assurance and research laboratories that use small quantities of toxic chemicals that could contribute to site contamination. (Learn more ...)
Chlor-alkali plants produce a variety of chemicals, including chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydrosulfite, salt, hydrogen, sulfur dioxide, and spent sulfuric acid. Three basic processes are used for the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda from brine: the mercury cell, diaphragm cell, and membrane cell processes. The mercury cell process uses elemental mercury as the cathode and produces mercury-contaminated wastewater, solid waste, and gaseous emissions. The process and waste streams must be carefully controlled to prevent the release of mercury to the environment. The diaphragm cell process may use lead or graphite anodes and asbestos diaphragms and may generate chlorinated hydrocarbons as a by-product. The membrane cell process is the most modern and has economic and environmental advantages. The primary by-product of the membrane cell process is dilute hydrochloric acid, which must be neutralized before it is discharged into the environment. (Learn more ...)
Cosmetics are mixtures of surfactants, oils, and other ingredients. Cosmetics may contain mineral or metallic and nonmetallic additives. Titanium and zinc are used as sun blockers in sunscreen, for example. The color of makeup is controlled by the concentrations and ratio of black or red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. Metal dyes are used in fingernail polish. The uses and concentrations of heavy metals play an important role in cosmetics production and a primary environmental concern at these site types. (Learn more ...)
Drum recycling facilities clean used drums for reuse. Soil and groundwater contamination at these facilities may result from leaking and spilling residual chemicals and oils. The variety of chemicals stored in drums makes characterizing potential contaminants difficult. Contaminants could include acids, bases, corrosives, reactive chemicals, flammable materials, and oils. Spillage of paint, paint thinners, and solvents can also contaminate drum recycling facilities. (Learn more ...)
The dry cleaning industry provides garment cleaning and related services such as clothes pressing and finishing. The dry cleaning process is physically similar to the home laundry process, except that clothes are washed in dry cleaning solvent instead of water. Dry cleaning sites may become contaminated because of leaks, spills, and improper disposal of solvents. Two prominent contaminants commonly associated with dry cleaning sites are tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). (Learn more ...)
Gasoline stations consist of pump islands, underground storage tanks (UST) for fuel, small storage areas, and service areas (which typically contain either hydraulic lifts or pits) for changing automobile engine oil and other maintenance activities. Gasoline and diesel fuel are transferred from bulk tank trucks to large USTs. Spills at the transfer areas and pumps, along with overfilling of and leakage from the USTs, are likely sources of contamination at gasoline stations. The primary contaminants of concern at gasoline stations include petroleum hydrocarbons; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX); and fuel oxygenates such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Service areas typically have small containers of ethylene glycol (coolant), hydraulic oils, lubricants, automotive batteries (lead and acid), and compressed gas, especially acetylene and oxygen cylinders for welding operations. Surface soils may be contaminated because of historical spills or dumping of used lubricants, coolants, and cleaning solvents generated during servicing. Subsurface soils and groundwater, especially in the vicinity of USTs, may also be contaminated because of spills, overfilling, and leaks. (Learn more ...)
The glass industry consists of firms engaged in primary glass manufacturing and of others that create products using purchased glass. The primary contaminants associated with glass manufacturing are metals such as lead, arsenic, and chromium. Other chemicals used in the glass manufacturing process include hydrofluoric acid, sulfuric acid, and various organic and inorganic solvents. Contaminants may be released to the environment through spills and leaks of raw materials and plant maintenance waste as well as insufficiently treated air emissions. (Learn more ...)
Hospitals use a variety of toxic chemicals for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as well as for cleaning and sterilization. Hazardous materials used include chemotherapy and antineoplastic chemicals, formaldehyde, photographic chemicals, radionuclides, solvents, mercury, anesthetic gases, and other toxic or corrosive chemicals. These substances may be released to the environment through leaks and spills, improper disposal of wastes, and insufficient treatment of wastewater. In addition, medical waste incinerators may release mercury into the air. (Learn more ...)
An incinerator is an enclosed device that uses controlled flame combustion to thermally break down waste to an ash residue that contains little or no combustible material. Incinerators may accept specific wastes such as municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, or medical waste. Contamination from incinerators may be associated with storage and handling of waste materials prior to incineration as well as disposal of ash and other by-products of the combustion process. (Learn more ...)
Landfills are now restricted to household garbage, yard wastes, construction debris, and office wastes. Until 1970, however, landfills could accept industrial wastes. Therefore, older landfills are more likely to be contaminated with hazardous chemicals. Even modern landfills can contain a host of chemicals from household wastes such as oils, paints, solvents, corrosive cleaners, batteries, and gardening products. Illegal dumping at landfills can also be a source of contamination. Improperly designed landfills have a higher likelihood of surface soil and groundwater contamination and may trap explosive levels of methane gas and hydrogen sulfide in the soil cover. (Learn more ...)
Leather tanning is the process of converting raw hides or skins into leather. Hides and skins absorb tannic acid and other chemical substances that prevent them from decaying, make them resistant to wetting, and keep them supple and durable. Tanning is essentially the reaction of collagen fibers in the hide with tannins, chromium, alum, or other chemical agents. The most common tanning agents used in the United States are trivalent chromium and vegetable tannins extracted from certain tree barks. Alum, syntans (manmade chemicals), formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and heavy oils are also used as tanning agents. (Learn more ...)
The fabricated metal product industry has facilities that generally perform two functions: forming metal shapes and performing metal finishing operations, including surface preparation. Metal fabricators produce ferrous and nonferrous metal products. Machining and other metal working may generate waste metals, lubricants, cleaners, and other materials. These substances may contaminate soil, groundwater, and surface water if they are spilled, leaked, or improperly disposed. (Learn more ...)
Manufactured gas has been produced as a fuel source from coal and oil since the early 1800s. Typically, coal or oil is heated and the resulting volatilized gases are distilled to produce natural gas. Depending on the process design, various by-products can be recovered, including anthracene, benzene, cresol, naphthalene, paraffin, phenol, toluene, and xylenes. Waste products from manufactured gas operations include coal fines, coal tar, cyanide salts, hydrogen sulfide gas, ammonia, and wastewater. Leakage and spillage from storage drums or tanks may contaminate surface and subsurface soils, sediments, surface water, and groundwater. (Learn more ...)
Marine maintenance industry establishments engage in general painting and repairing ship or boat structures and engines or power plants. Activities may include painting, servicing engines, structural repairs, engine or power plant maintenance, electroplating, air conditioning and refrigeration service, electrical repair, and other cleaning and repair services. A number of chemicals may be used at marine maintenance facilities, including chemical paint strippers, blast media, antifouling paints, solvents, carburetor cleaner, cutting fluids, acids and alkalis, cyanide, heavy metal baths, fiberglass and reinforcement, resins, and mold release agents. (Learn more ...)
Metal plating operations improve a products performance (for example, its durability or corrosion resistance) or appearance. Metal components are first cleaned (using solvents or water-based detergents) to remove dirt and oils from manufacturing operations. The metal components are subsequently etched, plated, and finished in a series of vats or baths. Common plating metals include cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, nickel, silver, and their alloys. Spillage during plating and cleaning operations and leakage or overflows from storage tanks and process vats may contaminate concrete floors and underlying soils. Groundwater may also be contaminated by heavy metals, cyanide, and solvents. (Learn more ...)
Automobile salvage yards recover usable parts, scrap metal, and other recyclable materials from old or wrecked automobiles. Nonrecyclable materials are stored on site or sent to a municipal landfill. Metal recyclers purchase metal from a variety of sources and sort and process the scrap metal for resale. Metals commonly salvaged by these facilities include iron, steel, copper, brass, and aluminum. Sites may contain non-recyclable wastes and contaminated materials. Contaminated auto fluff, a fibrous residue containing plastics, fabrics, and other materials, may be present at sites that shred materials for salvage. Depending on the type of recycling operation conducted at a site, the surrounding soils and groundwater may be contaminated with heavy metals, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) oils, hydraulic fluids, lubricating oils, fuels, solvents, tetraethyl lead, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), 1,4 dioxane, glycols and alcohols (drum antifreeze), and phthalates. (Learn more ...)
There are three general steps in the mining process: extraction, beneficiation, and processing. Extraction of the mineral value from the rock or matrix is the initial step in the operation. Beneficiation is the processing of extracted materials to clean or concentrate the product either for use as a final product or in preparation for further processing. Beneficiation may involve physical (such as milling) or chemical (such as leaching) separation processes or both. Processing is conducted after beneficiation to further extract or refine the material and prepare it for specific uses. Processing may include a variety of operations such as smelting, refining, roasting, and digesting. Chemical contamination at mining sites may result from acidic, metal-laden mine drainage. Spilled, leaked, or improperly disposed of petroleum, lubricants, and other industrial chemicals may also result in site contamination. (Learn more ...)
Paint shops and automobile body repair shops paint various plastic and metal products and fix truck and automobile body parts. Damaged automobile body parts are replaced or repaired with fillers and are then sanded, primed, and painted. The shops may use cutting torches, welding equipment, solvents and cleaners, fiberglass, various polymers and epoxy compounds, and sand or grit blasting. Gasoline and diesel from vehicle fuel tanks, solvents, cleaners, acids, and paints may be leaked or spilled, contaminating soils and groundwater. Typical contaminants include toluene, acetone, perchloroethylene, xylene, gasoline and diesel fuel, carbon tetrachloride, and hydrochloric and phosphoric acids. (Learn more ...)
A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. The term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. Spillage, leakage, and improper storage or disposal of pesticides may result in their release to the environment. Sites may also be contaminated with properly applied but persistent pesticides. Because of the wide variety of pesticides and applications, facilities manufacturing or using pesticides may be contaminated with a broad range of chemicals. (Learn more ...)
Oil production facilities consist of oil drilling, refining, storage, transfer, transport, and recycling facilities. Typical materials present at these facilities include crude, fuel, and motor oils as well as waste oils. Production processes at these facilities may contaminate soils with sludges, acids, and waste oil additives as well as co-contaminants such as PCBs when spills, leaks, or improper disposal practices occur. In some cases, disposal pits may contain thick, tarry sludges with very high pH values. Groundwater and deeper soil may be contaminated with metals and lighter oil fractions such as BTEX. (Learn more ...)
The pharmaceutical industry manufactures bulk pharmaceutical intermediates and active ingredients that are further processed into finished products. Chemicals used in the manufacturing process vary according to the desired product and the process type. Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned between processing operations for different products. VOCs are used as solvents at various stages of the manufacturing process. Because of the purity required for products, spent solvent is not usually reused in pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, it may be sold for nonpharmaceutical use or destroyed via incineration. The ten contaminants most commonly discharged in pharmaceutical wastewater are methanol; ethanol; acetone; isopropanol; acetic acid; methylene chloride; formic acid; ammonium hydroxide; N,N-dimethylacetamide; and toluene. (Learn more ...)
Photographic film is coated with an emulsion containing light-sensitive silver halide crystals. Once film has been exposed, it must go through a series of chemical processes to bring out the images. Various chemicals are used as developers and fixing solutions, including hydroquinone, catechols, aminophenols, acetic acid, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid, and sodium or ammonium thiosulfate. Silver solutions are often generated during the photographic development processes. (Learn more ...)
Almost all plastics are made from petroleum. Plastics are polymers, which are very long chains of molecules that consist of subunits (monomers) linked together by chemical bonds. Monomers of petrochemical plastics are not typically biodegradable. Wastes generated by the industry include polymers, phthalates, cadmium, solvents, resins, chemical additives, and VOCs. (Learn more ...)
The printing industry consists of firms engaged in printing using one or more common processes such as lithography, letterpress, flexography, gravure, and screen printing. Contamination may result from spills, leaks, and improper disposal of excess chemicals and wastes, including ink constituents such as metals, cleaners, and solvents used during printing and production processes. (Learn more ...)
Railroad yards may consist of any combination of track and switching areas, engine maintenance buildings, engine fueling areas, bulk and container storage and transfer stations, and storage areas for materials used in track and engine maintenance. Materials used at railroad yards include diesel fuel, paint, solvents and degreasing agents, PCB oils, and creosote. Spills, leaks, or dumping of these compounds may contaminate soil, groundwater, and sediment. Chemical spills and leaks during loading and unloading of tanker and freight cars can also contaminate a railroad yard. Virtually any type of chemical contamination could be present because of the variety of chemicals used at and transported through railroad yards. (Learn more ...)
Academic institutions are often similar to small cities, as they may have research laboratories, automobile repair facilities, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, hazardous waste management and trash disposal, asbestos management, drinking water supply facilities, grounds maintenance, and incineration facilities. Educational institutions typically generate small quantities of a variety of wastes, including inorganic acids, organic solvents, metals and metal dust, photographic waste, waste oil, paint, heavy metals, and pesticides. (Learn more ...)
The semiconductor manufacturing industry is a subset of the electronics manufacturing industry and produces integrated circuits or chips. Contamination on semiconductor chips is one of the primary reasons that they fail; therefore, chips are cleaned before and after many of the steps in manufacturing. Chemicals used in the manufacturing process include various acids, ethylene glycol, hydroxide solutions, halogen gases, fluorocarbons, chlorine, and various organic solvents. (Learn more ...)
A UST is a tank and any underground piping connected to a tank where at least 10 percent of the combined volume is under the ground. USTs often contain petroleum products, gasoline, or other chemicals. Faulty installation or inadequate operating and maintenance procedures can cause USTs to release their contents into the environment. The greatest potential hazard from leaking USTs is that petroleum fuels, fuel additives, or other hazardous substances can seep into soil and contaminate groundwater. (Learn more ...)
Vehicle maintenance involves handling and managing a wide variety of materials and wastes, including oils, batteries, refrigerants, antifreeze, solvents, asbestos, and fuels. Improper management and disposal of wastes as well as leaks from fuel and waste storage containers may result in contamination of vehicle maintenance facilities. (Learn more ...)
Wood preservation sites typically consist of wood preparation facilities, chemical storage tanks, chemical treatment areas (including high-pressure vessels in many cases), drip or drying areas, and wood storage areas. Wood is treated with preservative chemicals either by dipping the wood into a chemical bath or by injecting chemicals into the wood under pressure. Storage tanks at wood preservation sites could contain creosote, pentachlorophenol, or chrome-copper arsenate (CCA) solutions for wood treatment. These chemicals could enter the environment if the tanks were overfilled or leaked. Contaminated water squeezed from wood during processing and retort sludge may have spilled on the ground, contaminating soil and groundwater. As treated wood is transferred from the treatment area to the drying area, chemicals may drip onto soil and contaminate the soil and groundwater. Likewise, drippage in drying areas, especially in older operations where pressure treatment may not have been used, could contaminate soil. Runoff from site could also contaminate nearby surface waters. (Learn more ...)
The pulp and paper industry produces commodity grades of wood pulp, printing and writing paper, sanitary tissue, industrial-type paper, containerboard, and boxboard using cellulose fiber from timber or purchased or recycled fibers. The two steps involved are pulping and paper or paperboard manufacturing. Pulping is the process of dissolving wood chips into individual fibers using chemical, semi-chemical, or mechanical methods. Pulping is the major source of environmental impacts in the industry. Chlorinated organic compounds in wastewater sludge from the pulp plant are of particular concern because of their tendency to partition from effluent to solids. Improper treatment or disposal of wastes may result in contamination being released to the environment. Spills and leaks of process and waste chemicals are other common sources of contamination at pulp mills. Air emissions are also problematic at pulp mills, which are typically noted for their unpleasant odors. (Learn more ...)
Contaminant groups that are associated with this technology are listed below.
Most commonly, artificial explosives are chemical explosives manufactured for use as explosives and propellants. Sites where explosive contaminants may be found include artillery impact areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells, leach fields, landfills, burial pits, and TNT washout lagoons.
Fuels are a general class of chemicals created by refining and manufacturing petroleum or natural gas for use in combustion processes to generate heat or other energy. Fuels include nonhalogenated VOCs, nonhalogenated SVOCs, or both. Sites where fuel contamination may be found include aircraft, storage and service areas, burn pits, chemical disposal areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells and leach fields, firefighting training areas, hangars and aircraft maintenance areas, landfills and burial pits, leaking storage tanks, solvent degreasing areas, surface impoundments, and vehicle maintenance areas.
A halogen (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) is attached to halogenated SVOCs are hydrocarbon compounds with boiling points greater than 200ºC. Locations where halogenated SVOCs may be found include burn pits and other combustion sources, chemical manufacturing plants and disposal areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells and leach fields, electroplating and metal finishing shops, firefighting training areas, hangars and aircraft maintenance areas, landfills and burial pits, leaking storage tanks, radioactive and mixed waste disposal areas, oxidation ponds and lagoons, dry cleaning shops, grain storage sites, pesticide and herbicide mixing areas, solvent degreasing areas, surface impoundments, vehicle maintenance areas, and wood preservation sites. Pesticides are a subgroup of halogenated SVOCs.
VOCs are hydrocarbon compounds that evaporate readily at room temperature. A halogen (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) is attached to a halogenated VOC. Locations where halogenated VOCs may be found include burn pits, chemical manufacturing plants and disposal areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells and leach fields, electroplating and metal finishing shops, firefighting training areas, hangars and aircraft maintenance areas, landfills and burial pits, leaking storage tanks, radioactive and mixed waste disposal areas, oxidation ponds and lagoons, dry cleaning shops, grain storage sites, paint stripping and spray booth areas, pesticide and herbicide mixing areas, solvent degreasing areas, surface impoundments, and vehicle maintenance areas.
No halogen (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) is attached to a nonhalogenated SVOC. Locations where nonhalogenated SVOCs may be found include burn pits, chemical manufacturing plants and disposal areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells and leach fields, electroplating and metal finishing shops, firefighting training areas, hangars and aircraft maintenance areas, landfills and burial pits, leaking storage tanks, radioactive and mixed waste disposal areas, oxidation ponds and lagoons, pesticide and herbicide mixing areas, solvent degreasing areas, surface impoundments, and vehicle maintenance areas, and wood preservation sites.
No halogen (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) is attached to a nonhalogenated VOC. Locations where nonhalogenated VOCs may be found include burn pits, chemical manufacturing plants and disposal areas, contaminated marine sediments, disposal wells and leach fields, electroplating and metal finishing shops, firefighting training areas, hangars and aircraft maintenance areas, landfills and burial pits, leaking storage tanks, radioactive and mixed waste disposal areas, oxidation ponds and lagoons, paint stripping and spray booth areas, pesticide and herbicide mixing areas, solvent degreasing areas, surface impoundments, and vehicle maintenance areas.
The EPA's CLU-IN website provides information about treatment and site characterization technologies.
The Brownfields and Land Revitalization Technology Support Center
Provided by the U.S. EPA, Argonne National Laboratory, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers