Brent G. Pautler, Ph.D. (Ontario) will present “Advantages of Passive Sampling as a Decision-Making Tool and its Application to Contaminated Groundwater Upwelling” at the Virtual SMART Remediation Online Technical Learning Series Session 4 at 12:35PM on February 25, 2021.

Brent’s co-presenters are Jeff Roberts & Michael Healey, SiREM; and Jason Conder, Geosyntec.

SiREM once again is proud to sponsor this event.

Smart Methods in Advanced Remediation Technologies (SMART) is a series of technical learning seminars for environmental professionals where our goal is to bring the North American environmental community together to enhance our collective understanding of cutting-edge characterization and remediation technologies. This year a series of four webinars to be held on each Thursday in February: 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th, 2021. Each webinar will be approximately 2 hours long and will be followed by an optional virtual networking/Q&A opportunity for attendees.

SMART is a series of technical learning seminars for environmental professionals and designed with the following in mind:

  • To provide information and an opportunity to learn about advanced technologies and approaches for effective delineation and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater
  • To facilitate discussion between professionals regarding these technologies and approaches
  • To network with other professionals in the industry

The goal is to bring the North American environmental community together to enhance the collective understanding of cutting-edge characterization and remediation technologies.

With ongoing changes in regulations and requirements, all environmental professionals need to be up to date on the latest strides in SMART Remediation.

The founder of SMART, Vertex Environmental has grown to become one of the largest environmental remediation firms in Canada. They have successfully completed hundreds of remediation projects across Canada and internationally. Specializing in solving soil and water contamination issues, we offer a wide range of services, including site evaluations, along with designing and implementing various remedial solutions. They not only have the experience to resolve environmental concerns, but also the commitment to provide great service.


Passive sampling devices (PSDs) present many advantages over conventional sampling methods for quantifying the availability of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOC) and inorganic compounds in sediment, soil, surface water and storm water in terms of cost and data quality. PSDs provide data to estimate contaminant bioavailability and toxicity to environmental receptors that are more accurate than conventional grab or mechanically extracted samples, as PSDs quantify freely dissolved contaminant concentrations (Cfree) as opposed to total mass including sorbed fractions. Measuring only bioavailable contaminants with PSDs provides a better measure of actual toxicity and mobility for environmental receptors and decreases toxicity overestimation compared to  conventional sampling methods (e.g., core collection, porewater extraction).  

PSDs have been used in the laboratory and the field for decision making in site investigation and remediation, including techniques and advancements that simplify and improve ease of sampling, increase data quality and lower costs. PSDs can be deployed directly in-situ to capture the influence of groundwater flux, changes in field conditions and the heterogeneity of a site on the freely dissolved concentrations of the compounds of interest. 

In a recent case study, PSDs were used to assess groundwater upwelling of parent and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) concentrations in sediments and surface water at a site adjacent to a former wood preserving facility. The use of Cfree results indicated distinguishable groundwater discharge zones at the site, and that if corrective action were required for the sediments, it would be of limited spatial extent reducing remediation costs.  This case study, in addition to abundant laboratory data, illustrates how good site management practices and efficiencies can be realized by using passive sampling at contaminated sediment sites.     

More Information

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