Brent Pautler, Ph.D. (Ontario) will present “Waterloo Membrane Sampler™: Passive Sampling in Remediation Projects; Soil Gas, Outdoor Air and Implications for Vapor Intrusion Studies” at AGAT Laboratories Tech Talks Virtually on March 1, 2021.

Brent’s co-presenters are Hester Groenevelt & Todd McAlary (Geosyntec Consultants); Theresa Stephenson (AGAT Laboratories); and Robert Healy (Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks).

Brent, the Chemistry Services Manager, received his Ph.D. environmental analytical chemistry in 2013 where he gained advanced technical experience in spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, passive sampling, and chemistry informatics. Throughout his career, he has worked with scientists, engineers, and consultants, applying his chemistry and information technology expertise to help them solve unique problems in the laboratory and the field. He is role includes managing and advancing SiREM’s passive sampling portfolio and analytical testing services.

This is the first-ever morning series of AGAT Tech Talks in a virtual format! This year is focused on providing content that reflects not only the highly specialized work that is done in Canada in the fields of environmental science and technology, but also a focus on information that supports business and personal lives. A strong roster of accomplished professionals from across Canada will present on a suite of topics of high value and interest. Join this special virtual edition of AGAT Tech Talks from the comfort of your home, office or any other working set-up.

AGAT Laboratories is a highly specialized, Canadian-based company that provides laboratory services worldwide. With over 40 years of experience, coast to coast locations and over 1,200 employees Canada-wide, AGAT Laboratories is the most geographically and technically diversified laboratory in Canada. AGAT scientists are highly skilled and specialized in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, geology, engineering and specialty analysis. Committed to local communities, AGAT Laboratories aims to maintain their mission statement in delivering “Service Beyond Analysis”.


Passive sampling has been growing in popularity for the measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to lower costs, simpler sampling protocols and ease of deployment, with applications ranging from indoor/outdoor air quality and soil vapor intrusion assessments. The Waterloo Membrane Sampler™ (WMS™), a passive permeation sampler which incorporates a polydimethylsiloxane membrane across the face of a vial filled with sorbent medium, provides additional advantages such as a high resistance to water vapor and predictable uptake rates for virtually any VOC. It has found use in collecting soil gas, indoor and outdoor air to monitor remediation projects focused on time-weighted average VOC concentration and compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA). This presentation will provide technical information on the WMS™ and provide data on recent sampler developments including:

  • Use of WMS™ in soil gas sampling programs in which the design of the sampler was modified to incorporate a thicker membrane, reducing the potential for “starvation”, a common issue when collecting soil gas samples with passive samplers
  • WMS™ design modification to incorporate either a thermally-desorbable sorbent or thin film SPME sorbent for ease of detection/quantitation by TD-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) and direct comparison with TD tubes and real-time monitoring in outdoor air.

With these modifications, increased sensitivity and correlation to real-time monitoring data, the WMS™ shows potential to be applied to all indoor and outdoor air VOC sampling, including perimeter monitoring of remediation projects such as excavations and long-term monitoring for vapor intrusion work.

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