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TestAmerica Addresses the Use of Fingerprint Analysis for Petroleum Hydrocarbon Identification


Johnny Mitchell, Laboratory Director at TestAmerica’s Nashville laboratory, was invited by the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists (PCPG) to contribute his expertise on the use of fingerprint techniques for analysis of petroleum hydrocarbons, as a means to improve risk and remediation assessments, under state regulatory guidelines. The article was published in the 2009 PCPG Quarterly Newsletter.

Fingerprint analysis can be used for the general identification of petroleum classes present at sites impacted by petroleum hydrocarbon contamination. The desire to understand the distribution of hydrocarbons, their age, identification of product specific markers or additives, or to distinguish between multiple sources of contamination are also important considerations that introduce different analytical dimensions to the art of fingerprint analysis. Mr. Mitchell states, “Often, these characteristics are extremely important for the determination of environmental risk factors associated with contamination and can also be helpful in defining legal liability that may result from a release.”

New analytical approaches that address the complexities associated with accurate hydrocarbon fingerprinting can ensure that data results will be suitable to address questions pertinent to the investigation. Commercial laboratories, like TestAmerica are beginning to offer these new techniques. TestAmerica asserts that advanced finger printing techniques will enable its clients to improve the accuracy of risk analysis, resulting in more highly informed decisions. For more information, please contact Johnny Mitchell through TestAmerica’s Ask the Expert website at

About TestAmerica

TestAmerica is the leading environmental testing firm in the United States, including 37 laboratories and 29 service centers. TestAmerica provides innovative technical expertise and comprehensive analytical testing services. Specialty analyses include source and ambient air, aquatic toxicity, explosives, specialty organics, dioxins, drinking water, sediments and tissues, emerging contaminants, radiochemistry and mixed waste testing.

TestAmerica affiliate companies include EMLab P&K, the leader in analytical microscopy and indoor air quality; QED Environmental Systems, Inc., the leading supplier of groundwater sampling equipment and remediation pumping systems; TestAmerica Drilling Corp., provider of innovative environmental and geotechnical drilling; and TestAmerica Air Emissions Corp. (METCO Environmental), specializing in air emissions testing. TestAmerica currently employs nearly 2,800 professionals dedicated to exceptional service and solutions for our clients’ environmental testing needs.


 environmental testing
 fingerprint analysis
 petroleum hydrocarbon
 analytical testing

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