Environmental Enlightenment #244

By Ami Adini - Issued June 14, 2018

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.
For some, SUMMA canisters raise images 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. (Unattested Internet source.)

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.

Here are SUMMA canisters being used to collect indoor and outdoor air samples.


In the picture below, we draw a sample from the subsurface air inside a monitoring well. The black stand pipe with white cap is a part of the well that projects above the pavement.


The canister comes from the lab under (almost) absolute vacuum.

At first, the vacuum pump (to the right) purges the well for a few minutes to ensure that the sample will be representative of the subsurface environment. At this time, the valving blocks the canister. Then we change the valves so that the pump is blocked from the well and blocked from the canister; and the canister opens towards the well. The air sample now enters the empty canister.

I never attended Sumo wrestling, except watching some in the 1967 James Bond flick You Only Live Twice, where Mr. Connery had not yet sported a beard. Working with SUMMAs evokes memories of that film.


Wishing you a beautiful Spring time.

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 Environmental Services, Inc.
Environmental Consultants & General Engineering Contractors
California Lic. #1009513 A B HAZ ASB
818-824-8102; mail@amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a veteran environmental practitioner with over 40 years of experience. He carries a Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering including academic credits in Nuclear and Chemical Engineering and postgraduate education in these fields. His career includes design and construction of nuclear plant facilities, chemical processing plants and hazardous wastewater treatment systems. He is a former California Registered Environmental Assessor Levels I & II in the 1988-2012 registry that certified environmental professionals in the assessment and remediation of environmentally impacted land, and a Registered Environmental Professional (REP) since 1989 with the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP). He is a California Business & Professions Code Qualifying Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) in the General Engineering Contractor classification with Hazardous Substance Removal and Asbestos certifications, and president of AMI ADINI ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. (AAES), a general engineering contractor and consulting firm specializing in environmental site assessments, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and removal of environmental risks from real-estate transactions. (Contact Ami for a complete resume.) AAES provides practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.