A micrometeorological technique to monitor total hydrocarbon emissions from landfarms to the atmosphere

Sandra Ausma*, Grant C. Edwards, Edwina K. Wong, Terry J. Gillespie, Colleen R. Fitzgerald-Hubble, Laurie Halfpenny-Mitchell, Wendy P. Mortimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Landfarming is used to treat petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soils and a variety of waste streams from industrial operations. Wastes are applied to a soil surface and indigenous soil microorganisms utilize the hydrocarbons in the applied waste as a carbon source for metabolism, thereby biodegrading the applied material. Concerns have been expressed that abiotic losses, such as volatilization, play a significant role in hydrocarbon reduction within the soil. To assist in better defining atmospheric releases of total hydrocarbons from landfarms treating petroleum hydrocarbons, a flux gradient micrometeorological approach was developed and integrated with a custombuilt total hydrocarbon detector, and a novel air sampling system and averaging algorithm. The micrometeorological technique offers unobtrusive spatially averaged real-time continuous measurements, thereby providing a time history of emissions. This provides opportunities to investigate mechanisms controlling emissions and to evaluate landfarm management strategies. The versatility of the technique is illustrated through measurements performed at a remote landfarm used to treat diesel fuel-contaminated soil in northern Ontario and during routine operations at two active refinery landfarms in southwestern Ontario.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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