Geo Chemistry

Geo Chemistry / Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting

IPX’s team of geochemistry and geological experts, are known in the Industry for their chemical fingerprinting of gasoline- and diesel-fuel-derived contamination. Our environmental services help resolve environmental forensic questions surrounding the source and age of the contamination as a means of establishing the responsible party at a site. Chemical fingerprinting can be combined with other types of environmental forensic data (e.g., geology/hydrology, refining history, operational history, and regulatory history) to increase the defensibility of any conclusions. At the heart of chemical fingerprinting is the ability to tailor or modify analytical methods to provide sufficient chemical detail to identify and distinguish gasoline and diesel-fuel derived from different sources at petroleum impacted sites.

Analytical Strategies

Chemical fingerprinting data must provide sufficient specificity to recognize the particular types of petroleum present at a site, characterize the effects of weathering on their chemical composition, and provide the diagnostic information necessary to distinguish and perhaps allocate between multiple sources of petroleum and assess their likely ages. For this reason, a “turnkey” analytical program that utilizes standard, regulatory methods for chemical analysis is utilized. The methods of chemical analysis suitable for environmental forensics investigations measure a broader suite of compounds in gasoline and diesel fuel that are useful for source identification and differentiation.

Interpretation and Reporting

A detailed interpretive report is generated by IPX, and provides an assessment of the source organic matter type and maturity at generation/time of expulsion, depositional environment, evaluation of any alteration processes, and possibly geologic age. If multiple oils are evaluated, oil-oil correlation and reservoir continuity can be assessed. And the offending source of the pollution is identified.

Imagine a busy intersection with 4 gas stations. A Gasoline leak is identified and much environmental damage has occurred. IPX can typically collect samples from the 4 gas stations of the fuels that they sell. Then after forensic investigation and laboratory work, IPX can identify the gas station that has leaked the gas or diesel fuel and begin the process of cleanup and remediation.

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