MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The X-Wand™ analyzer, a new contaminant-detection device developed at Western Research Institute in cooperation with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is now included in the product line offered by Bacharach Inc. of New Kensington, Pa.
The X-Wand is the first rapid, low-cost, portable apparatus to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) and other halogenated volatile organic compounds (HVOCs)—some of the most common soil and water contaminants in the United States. Unlike other screening tools on the market, the patent-pending instrument is not confused by humidity or aromatic hydrocarbons, such as gasoline. It screens for a wide range of contaminants in both soil and water samples, with results comparable to those achievable in a laboratory setting.
The X-Wand can streamline testing at brownfields, abandoned or inactive industrial and commercial sites where redevelopment is stunted by environmental contamination, mostly in the form of industrial solvents. Brownfield sites often yoke communities with declining property values and slowed job growth. Liability, costs, and potential health risks turn businesses away from utilizing the brownfields and instead encourage the commercial and industrial exploitation of greenfield sites.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates a total 450,000 brownfield sites in the United States. The battery-powered X-Wand fills a niche for a quick, low-cost, effective means of locating HVOCs at these sites, contributing to their prompt decontamination. The quicker the sites are cleaned, the quicker they can be turned into usable property.
The X-Wand technology was validated by testing at a number of military sites across the United States. Military bases are often fraught with TCE contamination. When the Department of Defense sought a method to screen for TCE in soil and water, the analyzer fit that need and proved a beneficial tool for meeting military needs.
With widespread benefits available to the public at large, the X-wand offers a high return on the U.S. taxpayers’ investment. The analyzer was developed in 4 years for less than $300,000 in funding from the Advanced Research Program at NETL.