What are the benefits of using RemScan? 

RemScan delivers an array of benefits depending on the application, with the key advantage being its ability to swiftly perform field measurements. This leads to several subsequent benefits:

  • Enhanced delineation of spills due to increased sampling frequency.
  • Accelerated decision-making process resulting in faster project completion and closure.
  • Higher confidence in decisions backed by more frequent and higher-quality data.
  • Reduced costs as less soil requires treatment and projects can be wrapped up more efficiently and quickly.

Has the RemScan technology been independently validated?

Yes. Since its launch in 2012, RemScan has been extensively utilised at numerous global sites. Our clientele ranges from major oil companies to remediation companies, Government organisations, and mining companies. Many have offered testimonials highlighting the benefits of using RemScan. Additionally, RemScan technology was developed and validated in partnership with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), as recognised in a peer-reviewed paper we co-authored in the esteemed Soil Science Society of America Journal (Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.77:450 – 460, 2012). Independent evaluation results from Battelle in the USA also affirm the technology’s reliability.

What is the accuracy of the RemScan data compared to accredited laboratory analysis? 

When compared to accredited lab analysis for TPH C10 to C36, RemScan typically exhibits a relative error of approximately 6% at 10,000 mg/​kg TPH and around 16% at 1,000 mg/​kg TPH. Ziltek staff work with clients to calibrate RemScan for their particular needs. We have years of experience calibrating across a wide variety of soil types, contaminants as well as different environmental and regulatory conditions.

Has the instrument performance been verified using an international standard reference soil? 

Yes. RemScan’s performance has been confirmed according to the European Reference Material ERM®-CC017.

Are there any soil properties that interfere with the infrared signal? 

Certain soil properties can interfere with the infrared signal, such as particle size, natural organic matter, moisture content, etc. However, Ziltek mitigates this through site-specific calibration of RemScan. As long as RemScan is used on soils for which it’s calibrated, it will offer the stated levels of accuracy. If a site possesses multiple distinctly different soil types, each type might require its own calibration. 

Ziltek has developed a spill response mode for RemScan that allows for in-situ calibration for a wide range of soils. Spill response mode works out of the box” and can provide TPH measurements quickly without the need for site specific calibration. This makes Spill response mode the ideal tool for rapid site assessment whereas site specific calibrations are best suited to longer term remediation activities. 

Does the technology work on all soil types? 

Yes. RemScan has been successfully employed to measure various soil types, encompassing different forms of clays, silts, loams, and sands, even those with high organic matter or carbonate content.

Does soil moisture interfere with the instrument’s accuracy? 

RemScan maintains accuracy when the free moisture content in the soil is below 5%. If the moisture content exceeds this level, RemScan’s accuracy diminishes. In such cases, the device doesn’t yield a TPH reading but alerts the operator about the high moisture content, indicating that the sample needs drying before measurement. Ziltek provides several solutions for quick sample drying, including air drying and the use of Ziltek’s drying box.

Won’t air drying change the TPH reading because of the loss of volatile compounds? 

This depends on the petroleum source, soil ageing, and air-drying conditions. For most oil derivatives, such as diesel and crude, the loss of volatile compounds in the C10+ fraction due to air drying is almost negligible. Thus, air drying proves to be a reliable method for contaminants primarily in the C10+ fractions. Wet sand with 10,000 mg/​kg diesel contamination can air dry sufficiently within an hour at 25 to 30°C. For heavy clays, physical drying tools may be required. In cases where lighter fractions (C6 to C9) are the primary concern, as in fresh gasoline/​petrol contamination, a significant amount might be lost during handling and drying. For comprehensive data analysis, we recommend using RemScan alongside a PID and measuring the soil right after exposing the fresh surface. Despite this, RemScan does not give false negatives and can be used as a qualitative tool for these lighter fractions. Generally, if RemScan shows a zero’ reading for C10 to C36, it’s unlikely significant C6 to C9 TPH is present.

How then should the operator air-dry soils while minimising soil disturbance? 

To minimise soil disturbance while air-drying, simply tamp the soil sample firmly in the supplied sample cups and let it air dry in ambient temperature with airflow. Remember, only the surface of the soil needs to be dry as RemScan scans just a thin surface layer. For heavy clays, Ziltek offers several physical drying tools. 

Alternatively, for rapid soil drying operators can use the RemScan drying box. This system will gently dry 35 samples in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on initial moisture levels. The Drying box can be used anywhere and has multiple power options, including wall power, 12 Volt car outlets and untethered battery operation for field use.

What depth of soil does RemScan measure? 

RemScan analyses the surface layer of the soil sample, less than 1 mm deep. If you want to examine different soil depths, you can take samples at each depth and measure them with RemScan. Alternatively, RemScan can measure TPH levels along a drill core to provide readings at various depths. Essentially, anywhere you can collect a soil sample for standard lab analysis, you can also use RemScan.

Do the regulators accept the technology? 

Regulators encourage the use of RemScan for data support in laboratory analyses, similar to how they use XRF and PID instruments. The National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 19992013 endorses portable infield screening tools like RemScan. The technology, backed by the Hazwaste Fund of EPA Victoria, Australia, underwent independent evaluation by Battelle in the USA at two Department of Defence sites, revealing high accuracy and repeatability levels.

Does RemScan measure any other contaminants besides TPH? 

Yes, in addition to the TPH concentration RemScan will also provide the operators with measurements of soil moisture and soil texture. RemScan has also been configured to measure soil properties for the Agricultural sector. 

The RemScan Agriculture application provides measurements of soil texture, Soil organic carbon, in organic carbon and pH. With new parameters in development. Owners of RemScan can access these new methods through a simple software upgrade.

What in-field instrument support is available? 

With an annual service agreement, users have access to Ziltek’s technical support and annual return-to-base instrument servicing. The instrument covered by a 12-month warranty for all parts and software. Our certified field technicians will promptly address any instrument-related issues, and if a repair is necessary, a replacement instrument will be provided.

Is the data easy to access? In what format? 

Yes, the data is automatically collected and stored in a database. All data is immediately saved to a protected database without input from the operator.

The protected database makes all RemScan data incorruptible and provides a means for authorities to audit the data.

The data can then be exported the data using the built-in software export function, which allows data transfer to a USB drive in .csv or PDF formats. Access to raw spectral files is also available.

Is the instrument affected by hot, cold or humid weather? 

The instrument has been rigorously tested under various weather conditions. It functions effectively up to 85% humidity at 35°C and can operate in temperatures up to 50°C. To prevent overheating, the instrument is designed to automatically shut off. In extremely cold conditions (below 0°C), battery consumption may increase, and the instrument may take longer to warm up.

RemScan has been used successfully in many harsh environments including: Indonesian jungles, Antarctica, within the Artic circle, the Kuwaiti desert and outback Australia. 

Does it replace a Photoionization Detector (PID)?

No, a PID measures volatile organic compounds, generally lighter than C10, while RemScan is ideal for clean-up sites with significant non-volatile fractions.

Are there any special user training requirements such as those required for XRF use? 

We offer a comprehensive training workshop covering both theoretical and practical components. Upon completion, attendees are awarded a certificate of competency.

However, due to the inherent safety of the infrared light emitted from RemScan there is no need for specialist radiation safety training.

Do you need to carry hazardous chemicals or gases or soils for instrument calibration such as those required for a PID? 

No, RemScan calibration is performed with two inert plastic caps scanned for a minute each. The calibration is done on start-up and then hourly thereafter, guided by software prompts. 

What is the detection limit of the instrument? 

When RemScan is calibrated for a specific site, it typically detects TPH levels as low as 70 mg/​kg. The detection limit will depend on the soil type and heterogeneity.

Can you plot the global position of the sampling location? 

Yes, the RemScan interface, facilitated by a Getac tablet, incorporates a GPS receiver. This enables the global position to be logged without the need for an internet connection.

Is the instrument intrinsically safe? 

The instrument utilises harmless infrared energy and operates on battery power, thereby minimising the risk of sparks. However, like most field instruments, RemScan requires a hot work permit for operation in hot’ zones. Samples can alternatively be scanned safely in cold’ areas.