Many of our environmental consulting customers have recently welcomed new employees and field technicians to their teams. In response to related inquiries regarding test methods and procedures from our new contacts, we thought it would be helpful to share the following technical background information in case others have similar questions.

About TCLP: Classifying Wastes as Hazardous or Non-Hazardous by Toxicity

Determining the toxicity of waste is one of the four means waste generators, transporters, and disposal sites use to classify the material as either Hazardous or Non-Hazardous. Typically, receiving facilities require a “total analysis” (to determine the total concentration) of the waste to identify the total concentration of the required target analytes.

However, the total analysis does not always identify the amount of each analyte that can potentially leach from the waste to become an environmental contaminant. To evaluate this leaching potential, the EPA developed Method 1311, Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP). Download our TCLP PDF to learn more or visit the EPA’s website.

About TPH: Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) is a term used for any mixture of hydrogen and carbon (or “hydrocarbons”) that are found in crude oil. There are many different chemicals in crude oil and other petroleum products. Traditionally, petroleum fuel or oil-contaminated sites have been characterized by two measures:

  • Specific indicator compounds called the chemicals of concern.
  • By the total of all the petroleum hydrocarbons, called total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH).

TPH is a measurement largely defined by the method used for its determination and is driven by regulatory agencies. The project managers at these regulatory agencies will provide site-specific guidelines regarding the TPH method(s) required.

Federal Programs and Methods noted within EPA SW-846 RCRA Manual include, EPA 8100, EPA 8015 GRO (Gasoline Range Organics) or DRO (Diesel Range Organics). NPDES Permits, following EPA’s 40 CFR Part 136 includes TPH HEM-SGT 1664 (sometimes referred to as “Non-polar Material” (NPM)). This method is also followed by Dewatering and Remediation General Permits (DRGP) which adhere to 40 CFR Part 136 unless otherwise noted or special requests are made. DRGPs may also require analysis for Total Group 1 PAHs and/or Total Group 2 PAHs.

State programs and performance based methods might require retention time markers, aliphatic fraction and/or aromatic fraction, product calibration standard, resolution checks or compound ratio and/or targets, critical compounds of concern and/or indicator compounds.

TPH Fingerprinting may be requested depending on site and regulatory requirements. Many times the TPH L2 analysis can be a useful tool but if more comprehensive testing is needed, EAI offers specialized fingerprinting capabilities upon request to meet your project needs. Download our Hydrocarbon Spectrum Chart here.

Unit Conversion Chart

The difference among the following units:

  • PPM: parts per million: Aqueous mg/L (milligram/Liter) or Solid mg/kg (milligram/kilogram) (1 x 10−6)
  • PPB: parts per billion: Aqueous µg/L (microgram/Liter) or Solid ug/kg (microgram/kilogram) (1 x 10−9)
  • PPT: parts per trillion: Aqueous ng/L (nanogram/Liter) or Solid ng/kg (nanogram/kilogram) (1 x 10−12)

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