Fighting soil contamination with XRF

Several recent news stories in China and around the world have highlighted the country’s huge strides forwards in environmental protection. Christelle Petiot, our XRF product expert, looks at how the technology can be used to quickly and cost-effectively test soil for contaminants as Chinese companies are required to carry out their own environmental audits.

The war on pollution

Across China, the fight is on to reduce pollution and protect the environment from its devastating effects. In July last year, President Xi Jinping announced that controlling pollution would be among the country’s top three priorities, alongside reducing poverty and managing financial risk. This continues the war on pollution first declared by Premier Li Keqiang at the National People’s Congress in 2014.

Already, 5,600 inspectors from the Environment Ministry have been dispatched and thousands of polluting companies have faced fines totalling over 1 billion yuan. According to the news service Xinhuanet, 49.7 billion yuan was set aside for environmental protection last year, with 8.5 billion earmarked for water pollution, and 6.5 billion for soil pollution control.

Soil contamination

Complying with new environmental regulations is a fast growing concern for companies and local officials tasked with ensuring that industries reduce pollution and clean up after themselves. It’s a particularly challenging issue when it comes to soil contamination It’s not always easy to detect as it silently contaminates crops and the ground water supply.

XRF technology

One tool that both companies and environmental officials will find very useful in the fight against pollution is Hitachi High-Tech’s X-MET8000 Expert Geo. This robust handheld instrument uses X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology to analyse the elemental composition of soil samples. You simply point the nose of the device at the sample and pull the trigger.

You can find out more about soil contamination screening in this article.

Environmental audits

Companies throughout the country are being encouraged to audit themselves in order to comply with the new environmental protection legislation. When environmental officials inspect a facility, they’ll be taking a whole range of things into account, including permits, compliance with land use and industrial policies, waste disposal methods, evidence of soil or ground water contamination, and more.

A simple handheld device like the X-MET8000 Expert Geo can be used as part of a self-auditing process ensuring there are no surprises when an inspection takes place. It makes basic screening of the soil simple and cost-effective, and if contamination is discovered, mitigating steps can be taken. Analysis can be carried out at multiple points at any given location, and the results can be stored in the X-MET8000 Expert Geo’s memory for later reference. The integrated GPS also means you can combine geolocation data with analyses results for flawless site mapping. It also works with Trimble® receivers for more accurate location data. And because you don’t have to send samples to a lab, it saves both time and money.

For the same reasons, it will make testing quicker and easier for environmental officials who have to carry out such inspections.

Find out more

Find out more about the benefits of the X-MET8000 Expert Geo. Or, if you’ve got any questions about how an X-MET8000 Expert Geo can help your organisation, get in touch to book a demo.

Find out more


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Date: 5 February 2018

Author: Christelle Petiot, XRF Product Manager

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