KAPLAN, ISAAC R., Global Geochemistry Corporation, Canoga Park, CA
ABSTRACT: Characterizing Petroleum Contaminants in Soil and Water and Determining Sources of Pollutants
When crude or refined oil products enter soil, groundwater, or an aqueous environment (river, lakes or ocean), they begin to be degraded by numerous microbiological and physical processes. The result of such changes is to alter the molecular composition of the product so that its source is unrecognizable. Numerous methods have been devised by geochemists in the petroleum exploration industry to characterize source rock bitumens and reservoired hydrocarbons in order to determine the source of oil and gas in reservoirs. A modification of these methods has been successfully applied by Global Geochemistry Corporation to identify the source of fugitive hydrocarbons.
To satisfy the requirements of the legal profession and especially trial lawyers who need to arm themselves with convincing evidence, we have developed a series of analytical procedures for the laboratory identification and quantification of complex mixtures of hydrocarbons. These methods depend on a relatively large array of analytical procedures not generally used in environmental analytical laboratories, coupled with experience and a large database for interpretation of the analytical results.
These methods may allow three important litigation questions to be answered. These involve (1) identification of the product type which has occurred in the spill, (2) source of the pollutant, and (3) approximate time frame that the petroleum product(s) has been in the soil or groundwater.
AAPG Search and
Discovery Article #90992©1993 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Long Beach,
California, May 5-7, 1993.