Fighting Soil Contamination with XRF

Recently, several news stories in China and worldwide have highlighted the nation’s huge strides forwards in environmental protection. Hitachi’s XRF product expert Christelle Petiot looks at how the XRF technology can be used to rapidly and cost-effectively test soil for contaminants as Chinese companies have to perform their own environmental audits.

The War on Pollution

Throughout China, the fight is on-going to reduce pollution and safeguard the environment from its detrimental effects. In July last year, President Xi Jinping declared that keeping pollution under check would be one of the top three priorities of the country, alongside managing financial risk and reducing poverty. This is in keeping with the war on pollution first announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the National People’s Congress in 2014.

From the Environment Ministry, 5,600 inspectors have already been deployed and thousands of polluting companies have to pay fines amounting to more than 1 billion yuan. In fact, 49.7 billion yuan was reserved for environmental protection last year, with 6.5 billion allocated for soil pollution, and 8.5 billion for water pollution control, according to the news service Xinhuanet.

Soil Contamination

Conforming to the new environmental regulations is a burgeoning concern for local officials as well as companies tasked with ensuring that industries cut down pollution and clean up after themselves. It is an especially complicated issue where soil contamination is concerned, and it is sometimes difficult to identify because it silently pollutes the ground water supply and crops.

XRF Technology

One invaluable tool for both companies and environmental officials in the fight against pollution is Hitachi High-Tech’s X-MET8000 Expert Geo. Using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology, this robust handheld instrument analyzes the elemental composition of soil samples. One needs to simply point the nose of the device at the sample and pull the trigger.

Environmental Audits

Companies across the nation are being persuaded to audit themselves in order to conform to the new environmental protection legislation. When environmental officials examine a facility, they will be considering a whole range of things, such as evidence of soil or ground water contamination, waste disposal methods, permits, compliance with land use and industrial policies, and so on.

The X-MET8000 Expert Geo is a simple handheld device that can be used as part of a self-auditing process to ensure that there are no surprises during an inspection. The analyzer makes basic screening of the soil easy and economical, and if contamination is found, alleviating steps can be taken. Analysis can be performed at multiple points at any given location, and it is possible to store the results in the X-MET8000 Expert Geo’s memory for future reference. The built-in GPS means that geolocation data can be combined with analyses results for impeccable site mapping. Moreover, it works with Trimble® receivers for more accurate location data. As the need to send samples to a lab is eliminated, it saves both time and money while simultaneously making testing easier and quicker for environmental officials who are tasked with such inspections.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.

For more information on this source, please visit Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.

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