Using PCB Test Kits to Expedite Remediation Projects

Posted on December 22nd, 2021

PCB Test Kit Vial

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were first used in the 1930’s until they were banned in 1979 under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). PCBs were commonly used with electrical equipment and existed as a byproduct from insulation fluids. Even though these were banned, PCBs remain persistent in the environment and must be remediated in accordance with specific requirements of the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

While excavating PCB-impacted soil, post-excavation soil samples need to be collected to ensure all contaminated material is removed. The process of collecting post-excavation soil samples, sending them to a certified off-site laboratory and awaiting the results can add significant time and expenses to the remediation process.  On-site testing provides an alternative way to screen soil samples for PCBs and guide the excavation work.  Although the results of the screening are not certified and off-site laboratory analysis is still required for post-excavation soil samples, the quick turnaround of results in the field (usually about 15 minutes per sample) allow us to expedite the remediation process.

JMS has utilized PCB test kits from Dexsil Corporation on multiple PCB investigation and remediation projects. The lab process is straight forward and requires an electrical outlet and a space protected from the elements to perform the analysis accurately. The Dexsil equipment and labware consists of an electrode and analyzer, calibration fluid for the electrode, measuring equipment such as a scale and pipets, single use lab wear, and the solution mixtures for preparing the samples. To ensure accuracy and precision, every step of the lab process is measured out by weight, volumetrically, and by time.

The lab process starts with measuring out a sample of the collected soil, followed by a series of mixtures and filtrations. After the sample is prepared, the electrode is placed in the aqueous mixture and the analyzer provides a reading of PCBs in parts per billion (ppb). The estimated concentration allows us to determine if the post-excavation soil sample can be sent off-site for full analysis, or if an excavation needs to be expanded and resampled.

If you have a PCB remediation project, please reach out to JMS at (908) 218-0066 or to determine if we can help expedite the process.


Evan Cohen

Environmental Scientist


For More information:

Dexsil PCB Test kit

NJDEP PCB guidance

USEPA PCB Guidance and more information on PCBs

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