Environmental Enlightenment #126

By Ami Adini -
Reissued February 13, 2015

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never knew the meaning of.

Organic Compounds

In dealing with cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater, one runs frequently into organic compounds.

Petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel are essentially mixtures of hundreds of organic compounds.
Dry-cleaning chemicals such as perchloroethylene (also known as perc, PCE, tetrachloroethene or tetrachloroethylene) and Stoddard solvent are organic compounds.
Machining operations involve organic compounds as coolants, lubricants and degreasers.

An organic compound is a member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. (There are exceptions; for example, carbon dioxide belongs in the inorganic compound family.)

Here is a diagram of an organic molecule of the amino acid family. “C” stands for the carbon atom, and “N”, “H” and “O” for the nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen atoms respectively.

The dividing line between organic and inorganic is debatable and historically arbitrary. Generally speaking, organic compounds are defined as those compounds which have carbon-hydrogen bonds, and inorganic compounds, those without.

Organic is a descriptive term for things that belong with living organisms. In the context of organic compounds, the use of this term dates back to 19th century, when it was believed that organic compounds could only be synthesized in living organisms through vis vitalis - the "life-force".

(Acknowledgement:Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org)

You can find past issues of our  "Environmental Enlightenment" at amiadini.com Wealth of information about environmental site assessments in the real estate transactions and issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini
Ami Adini & Associates, Inc.
Environmental Consultants
Underground Storage Tank Experts
818-824-8102; 818-824-8112 fax
mail@amiadini.com
www.amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI & ASSOCIATES, INC. (AA&A), an environmental consulting firm specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments and rehabilitation of contaminated sites. AA&A specializes in practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.