Public concern over the state of the environment is at an all-time high and rightfully so! Industry practice, recent government regulations and lax enforcement have allowed frightening practices to continue for too long. Industries must, by law, monitor the level of toxins they discharge into the environment. Collecting samples and sending them to an off-site laboratory for analysis is the normal practice to comply with present regulations. This protocol is not only a time-consuming and costly exercise, but does not provide continuous information for alerting the public and the authorities of a potential disaster. A water treatment plant is obligated to test water for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at frequencies that vary from a few times per week to once every three months. Authorities may test finished water as infrequently as once per year. This means that drinking water supplied or waste water discharged, between discrete analyses, is of unknown purity. Since September 11, 2001, an additional dimension, “water security”, has been added to the need for instantaneous analysis. Protection and preservation of water sources such as reservoirs, lakes and rivers from intentional and unintentional contamination, have become an issue, which involves homeland security. Here again, obtaining a fast and accurate response at all times is extremely important. Sentex Systems, Inc., which has specialized for several years in on site VOCs analysis, has developed a system by which online continuous analysis of VOCs in water is available. This system, which is based on the principle of in-situ purge and trap Gas Chromatography, will detect and analyze VOCs on site for most industrial and environmental applications, without the need for sample preparation, such as filtration. The system can continuously monitor process streams so that at any given time plant management knows what the VOC content is. The system, called the SituProbe, is already being used successfully in various industrial plants.

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