Field Screening Petroleum-Contaminated Soils using a Photo-Ionization Detector (PID) and Static Headspace Method
This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on an agency until amended by such agency. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document.

Form #: 23-010 Guidance Documents Revised: 8/14/23


· The Department encourages the use of a PID at petroleum surface spill cleanups to assist in documenting cleanup.


· While a PID is sensitive to petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel, field screening with a PID is generally not effective for low volatility oils such as lubricating oil, hydraulic oil, and mineral oil.

· Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure your PID can adequately detect the spilled product(s).

· Using a PID is not a substitute for laboratory analysis.

· NDEE does not have field screening values, other than zero, to determine “clean” vs “contaminated.”

· The primary purpose of field screening with a PID as it relates to this guidance is to demonstrate qualitative changes in contaminant levels.


This guidance taken, in part, from NDEE Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA) at Petroleum Release Sites: Tier 1/Tier 2 Assessments & Reports, Screening:

· Place the soil sample in a clean, wide-mouth glass jar with a screw-on lid/ring,

· Fill the jar one-half full with the soil sample,

· Cover the mouth of the jar immediately with aluminum foil and secure the lid/ring,

· Place the jar in an environment above 60 degrees F for 30 minutes,

· Measure the contaminant level by puncturing the foil with the instrument probe,

· Record the highest level that the instrument registers,

· Field screening results are to be reported in parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb) relative to the calibration gas used to calibrate the instrument: often isobutylene.

Be sure the PID is charged and calibrated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications prior to sample analysis

Reporting Field Screening Results

· A written Final Report is to be submitted to NDEE in accordance with Title 126 – Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Management of Wastes, Chapter 18, Section 002.04.

· Visit the NDEE Petroleum Surface Spills Web Page for guidance regarding Final Reports


· In addition to the information listed in Petroleum Surface Spill Final Report Guidance, please also include:

· A site diagram showing the locations of samples.

· Note depths intervals at which samples were collected.