Application Note

Volatile Organic Compound Screening in Soil Using SPME-GC/MS

SPME-GC/MS for VOC screening in soil


The ability to screen soil samples in the field by identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a valuable tool where sampling decisions are required in near real-time. Results of the screening procedure may be used to guide sample collection activities, and can help identify which sampling and/or extraction methods are most effective.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Screening Method 3815 provides limited VOC concentration information by only reporting an estimate of the total VOC concentration in a sample. This method uses a photoionization detector (PID) without any separation technique, thus individual VOCs and their relative concentrations are not identified and reported.1 Sampling using the Custodion® SPME syringe, with separation and analysis using the Torion®T-9 portable GC/MS, was used to positively identify 37 VOCs and their relative concentrations in the field in under three minutes.