Environmental Enlightenment #193
By Ami Adini - July 28, 2016

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 known the meaning of.

Canister Sampling

SUMMA relates to Sumo only by sound and intonation.

Some may claim that SUMMA canisters are a reminiscence of the Sumo fighter.

The SUMMA canister for whole air sampling was developed in 1965 by Dr. Hutton and Dr. Rasmussen, who were then with the U.S. Army. The word SUMMA was the trademark of Molectrics, for the proprietary electrochemical polishing process that was used on the stainless steel canisters, and comes from Latin, meaning “highest,” and probably referred to the quality of their electropolishing (S.D. Hoyt, “Using EPA TO-15 Full Scan and SIM for Volatile Organic Compound Analysis,” AWMA Specialty Conference, Air Toxics Measurements,
San Francisco, California, October 2002).

These canisters are versatile and are used to sample for indoor air quality, environmental compliance, worker exposure, and other applications.

A “whole air” sample is collected when the air is drawn into the canister.

In the picture below, we draw a sample from air inside a vent pipe—the black pipe with white cap being the part of the vent. The canister comes from the lab under (almost) absolute vacuum. At first, the vacuum pump (on the right) purges the vent for a few minutes to ensure that the sample will be representative of the environment it gets drawn from; the valving blocks the canister during that priming operation. Then we change the valves so that the pump is blocked from the vent and blocked from the canister, and the canister opens toward the vent. The air sample now enters the empty canister.

All things considered, I find SUMMA more workable than Sumo.

Happy New Year,

Ami Adini

You can find past issues of "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.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.

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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, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and upgrading of underground storage tank facilities. AA&A supplies practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.