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Battelle's PFAS Passive Sampler

Technology that offers time-integrated results and reduction of investigation-derived waste

PFAS Insight™ Passive Sampling Technology

Passive samplers have been invaluable for measuring bioavailable contaminants in natural waters for decades. Applications for the samplers include site assessment, long-term monitoring, and risk assessment and food web modeling.

What makes passive sampling particularly beneficial in these applications is improved detection limits when compared to grab sampling, time-integrated results and easy separation of only the most bioavailable, freely dissolved fraction of the contaminants. All these benefits translate into more reliable sampling at a reduced cost.

The Challenge

When it comes to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), traditional water sampling methods suffer from a high potential for cross-contamination due to the reuse of sampling equipment (e.g., pumps), as well as the presence of Teflon parts in many types of field sampling devices. Additionally, traditional groundwater sampling methods result in large volumes of investigation-derived waste (IDW), which is difficult and expensive to dispose of and can lead to stockpiled waste.

The chemical properties of PFAS—relatively high solubility in water, surfactant properties and strongly variable molecular sizes—make legacy passive samplers unsuitable to PFAS..  

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Battelle PFAS Insight passive sampler for groundwaterOur Technology

Battelle has come up with a solution to this challenge with our PFAS Insight™ technology. This patent-pending passive sampler consists of a polymeric sorbent suitable for adsorbing neutral and ionic PFAS from a variety of aquatic environments.

Different geometries of the PFAS Insight sampler hardware have been designed to fit various applications, including groundwater monitoring wells (left) and surface water/porewater sampling (below). We also are designing a sampler that can be used for sediment porewater sampling.

How It Works

The passive samplers are delivered to the study site assembled and ready to deploy. No special training is required for installation and retrieval.

Battelle PFAS Insight sampler for surface waterAfter being deployed at the site for about one month, the samplers can be shipped to our laboratory, where sorbent will be retrieved, extracted and analyzed, and the results will be converted into equilibrium water concentrations using laboratory-derived partition coefficients. This translates to significant cost savings because the results obtained with our device are time-integrated and representative, and longer-term concentration data can be achieved with a fewer number of samples.

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