Revolutionizes Soil Extraction for Organics

An Alternate Method of Soil Extraction for EPA Method 3546

Environmental Express, known for its innovative products, has developed the Soil-XCell system for the extraction of semi-volatile organic compounds in soil samples. The Soil–XCell system meets the requirements EPA SW846 Method 3546 and replaces microwave technology with a HotBlock and stainless steel Soil Extraction Cells. Analytical results of a CRM (Certified Reference Material) for PAH/BNA and TPH fell within the required acceptance limits and were very reproducible. Real world soil samples were also extracted using this procedure for PAH/BNA, TPH, and PCB compounds and compared to results achieved using SW846 Method 3545A. Results were comparable for all three groups of compounds.

Method 3546 is a procedure for extracting water insoluble or slightly water-soluble organic compounds from soils, clays, sediments, sludges, and other solid wastes. The method was originally developed to use microwave energy to accomplish a static solvent extraction using an elevated temperature of 100 - 115ºC and an elevated pressure of 50 – 175 psi. Method 3546, however, does allow for the use of alternative systems to provide the elevated heat and pressure required to successfully extract the organic compounds from the sample. In addition, the EPA supported performance-based measurement system (PBMS) also allows for the use of alternative systems and vessels as long as the desired target analyte sensitivity and recovery requirements are met. Environmental Express has gathered data for the extraction of organic compounds based on the heat and pressure requirements of Method 3546 using the HotBlock and Soil Extraction Cells (stainless steel cells). Visit our website at to view the technical write up.

Soil-XCell Extraction Procedure

  • Weigh out 10 – 30 g of soil into each of the Soil Extraction Cells. May vary depending on laboratory needs.
  • Add approximately 30 mls of solvent to each cell.
  • Place the stainless steel inner lid with o-ring onto each extraction cell.
  • Hand-tighten the threaded outer cap onto each extraction cell.
  • Heat your HotBlock to 130ºC. This will yield an internal temperature of 100 – 115ºC which is required by Method 3546.
  • Put the Soil Extraction Cells in the HotBlock and heat for 30 minutes at a block temperature of 130ºC. This will give samples 10 – 20 minutes at the appropriate temperature for extraction which is recommended by Method 3546.
  • Remove the cells and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  • Unscrew the threaded outer cap and remove.
  • Take out the stainless steel inner lid and rinse with solvent, taking care to collect this rinsate in the cell.
  • Proceed with filtering and rinsing, collecting all filtrates. A Buchner funnel with vacuum is recommended.
  • The extract is now ready for concentration, cleanup, and analysis.

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