Exova Jones Environmental (Exova Jones) have capabilities that range from mainstream contaminated land analysis and gas analysis for summa type canisters to complex forensic analysis, which are all supported by world class technical back-up and experienced customer service teams.
Expertise in four core areas:
- Contaminated land sites: a wide range of analysis for the assessment of contaminated soils and waters
- Petroleum sites: organic and forensic analysis of soils, waters, oils and gases
- Mining: water quality assessments
- Waste: analysis of waste and landfill leachates from UK, Ireland, India and Africa
Meeting the Highest Standards
We are continually validating and submitting data to UKAS to extend our scope of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and MCERTS (where appropriate). View our UKAS schedule for current details of accreditation. The Exova Jones Chain of Custody Form is available for download both here and on the right hand side bar of this page. The Defra Letter of authorisation for the importation of soils and sediments is also available for download.
Adding to our analytical capabilities, we have an experienced method development programme and have invested heavily in state-of-the-art instrumentation. Clients are encouraged to discuss their requirements with us in order to obtain the most appropriate and cost effective methods of analysis to suit their specific needs.
Projects undertaken by Exova Jones have varied from site investigations, landfill monitoring, complex hydrocarbon studies and remediation projects. Our client base ranges from major oil companies (including Shell, BP and Exxon), multi-national environmental consultants, large mining companies (including BHP Billiton and Xstrata) to local authorities and Government bodies.
We receive samples for analysis from most European countries, extensively from Africa and South Africa, India, the Gulf of Mexico, Middle Eastern countries and many more (over 50 countries to date).
State of the Art Laboratories
We have a large purpose built laboratory, a second unit for distribution and storage, and a solvent free unit to allow further expansion to the main laboratory. As well as the usual routine laboratory equipment, we have invested heavily in instrumentation for non-routine analyses including vapour (soil-gas and ambient) from canisters, Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) for non standard organic compounds and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry QQQ GCMS for ultra-low levels.
In June 2015 a purpose built laboratory was opened in Somerset West near Cape Town (South Africa). Our laboratory is accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 through SANAS and was set up with the same Exova Jones ethos of high quality combined with a fast and helpful service. The laboratory has a level 4 BBEE score.
We hold a Home Office Drugs licence which has enabled us to undertake projects involving analysis of restricted pharmaceutical compounds. We also offer environmental forensics analysis and reporting, which has resulted in Exova Jones being able to offer routine analysis with “added value”, something that sets us, and the clients we work for, apart from the competition.
Our testing in detail:
Aging Diesel Spills
The degradation of diesel can be very dependent on its environment. Middle distillates such as diesels are degraded mainly by evaporation, leaching and microbial action. One of the most useful techniques involves the ratio of n-C17: Pristane. Our experience combined with the use of Kaplan et al (1996) enables us to offer correlation of age which can only be applied to diesel and has an experimental error of ±2 years.
Aging Petrol Spills
Petrol releases to the subsurface are difficult to age because of their volatile nature and variable aromatic content. Many factors have to be taken into consideration in order to build up as much evidence as possible to make an informed decision. A single age estimation is unlikely to be conclusive; therefore several different approaches should be used.
Biomarkers are naturally occurring, ubiquitous and stable hydrocarbons that occur in crude oils and most petroleum products. Biomarkers are sometimes called “molecular fossils” as they retain all or most of the original carbon skeleton derived from once-living organisms. Biomarkers’ specificity, diversity complexity and relative resistance to microbial attack (degradation) therefore make them extremely useful ‘markers’ in the characterisation and differentiation of spilled oils and candidate source oils. The profile and distribution pattern of biomarkers generally differs between oils derived from different sources.
Compound Ratio Analysis Techniques (CORAT) were originally developed by Chevron in the US for crude oil comparison; the original founder of Exova Jones pioneered the use of Compound Ratio Plots for petroleum geochemical use in the UK in 1990, and since then business has used them for environmental samples.
Star plots constructed using individual compounds or peak ratios maximizes the apparent differences between samples by stripping away what the samples have in common and focusing on how they differ. To maximize the use of the plots, the choice of compounds and/or ratios is critical and is based on experience.
Environmental forensics is all about evidence and detail – the more the better. A project will usually start with a basic whole oil fingerprint. Forensic reports are generally used to correlate samples with spills. No two projects are the same, so it is always advisable to contact the laboratory to discuss the site in question so the nature of the enquiry is fully understood.
Fuel dyes are dyes added to fuels to indicate the difference between rebated, un-taxed fuels (dyed) and taxed fuels (clear). In the UK, red diesel is dyed gas oil used for agricultural and non-road applications and is significantly cheaper than the heavier-taxed commercial diesel fuel. The dyes and markers can be determined by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemical compounds that consist of fused aromatic rings, and are one of the most widespread organic pollutants.
Most PAHs do not dissolve readily into water but they stick strongly to soils and sediments. Major industrial sources of PAHs include primary metals processors, petroleum refineries, and paper, chemical and plastics manufacturers.
Petrogenic, Pyrogenic or Phytogenic? PAHs from petrogenic sources are not persistent and do not accumulate in sediments. By plotting ratios of various PAHs including anthracene / anthracene+phenanthrene; fluoranthene / fluoranthene+pyrene; benzo(a)anthracene / chrysene and fluoranthene / pyrene it is possible to distinguish between combustion and petroleum sources. However, caution is always required when reviewing these ratios in isolation and further analysis is often required.
PIANO and PONA Analysis
PIANO/ PONA analysis shows the relative concentrations of major hydrocarbon groups in fuels and is a very useful parameter for fuel type differentiation (including octane rating) and source correlation. It can also be useful for estimating alteration by weathering and biodegradation.
Saturates, Aromatics, Resins and Asphaltenes is a technique used in the characterisation of weathered hydrocarbon wastes and tarry material using Iatroscan™ Thin Layer Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detection (TLC-FID).
By facilitating the rapid component class fingerprinting of a wide variety of solvent extractable hydrocarbons from soils and products from petroleum or coal tar contaminated sites, TLC-FID allows waste extracts or products to be classified according to their composition.
Examination of GCMS chromatograms for characteristic ions of sesquiterpanes provides a highly diagnostic tool for correlation, differentiation and source identification of light to middle-range petroleum products, in comparison with the use of other hydrocarbon groups.
Soil Gas and Ambient Air Analysis
Exova Jones was the first environmental laboratory in the UK to offer sampling and analysis of gases in BottleVacs and Canisters and is the UK leader in this area of expertise, regularly analysing samples from the UK, South Africa, Egypt and Europe.
Many methods of analysis are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 through UKAS. Full sampling instructions are supplied.
Coal Tar Analysis
Road coverings traditionally use a resilient material such as Coal Tar or Asphalt/Bitumen to bind a stone/aggregate base. Historically, the binder used was manufactured from Coal Tar however, in recent years, this binder has been replaced by refined petroleum Asphalt/Bitumen.
As waste disposal costs are increasing the type of binder needs to be established prior to disposal or reuse because asphalt/bituminous mixtures containing Coal Tar are classified as hazardous as an absolute entry (concentration is irrelevant) in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC 17-03-01*) .