October, 2013

Arsenic and your Oil Contaminated Site


Arsenic exists naturally in soil and is sometimes associated with erosion of igneous rock such as granite.  As arsenic containing minerals weather, through pH shifts, precipitation and adsorption, the arsenic becomes redistributed in the soil.  Besides naturally occurring arsenic, it also has (or had) many industrial applications such as crop and lawn treatment, wood treatment, flame retardants, semiconductors, lead-acid batteries and rat poison. 


Many forms of arsenic are bound to the organic and mineral content of the soil and do not readily diffuse into the groundwater.  However, petroleum hydrocarbon contamination of groundwater can lead to conditions that can cause mobilization of the arsenic.  The presence of the petroleum hydrocarbons causes a change from aerobic to anaerobic conditions for soil organisms, resulting in a reducing environment for arsenic.  These microbial activity changes are dependent on the concentration and type of organics, soil minerals as well as the specific type of microbes that are present in the plume area. 


It is in this scenario that chemically reduced arsenic becomes less tightly bound to the soil and becomes mobile in groundwater.  So, although the arsenic contamination was not directly related to a petroleum release, conditions can exist where naturally occurring arsenic becomes a factor at an oil contaminated site. If you have questions about arsenic in groundwater, be sure to give us a call!


Cycle the Seacoast with ARA!

A Note from ARA CEO Guy Sylvester

Since its inception in 2010, I have been a proud sponsor and participant of Cycle the Seacoast, a one-day bicycle event in Portsmouth to benefit the American Lung Association. The event is held the first Sunday in May, and after a long New England winter, it is an occasion I most certainly look forward to.


As a board member of the American Lung Association, I am particularly proud of what this event does to support programs and advocacy work with a mission of saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.


In 2014, we will celebrate the 5th Annual Cycle the Seacoast and I am excited to once again be participating. I’d like to invite you to join my company in supporting this event as a sponsor or by creating a company team. Or both!


If you would like more information on our sponsorship opportunities and the marketing advantages associated with the various levels, please contact [email protected] for more details. In 2013, this event drew cyclists from 10 states and 43 cities and towns throughout New Hampshire, giving businesses a great opportunity to promote themselves on a regional level.


Cycle the Seacoast is also a great way to bring friends, family and co-workers together to take in some wonderful New Hampshire scenery and enjoy each other’s company in a casual setting. Our ride has something for everyone, with 25, 50 and 100 mile options. It is fully supported with rest stops every 12 – 15 miles and safety vehicles along the routes. I encourage you to form your own company or “Family and Friends” team by going to www.biketreknewengland.org and clicking on the Cycle the Seacoast section.


It is truly an honor to be associated with the American Lung Association. I hope you’ll join me in one way or another to support this amazing event.


See you on the road!

Sincerely,  Guy Sylvester, CEO, Absolute Resource Associates


Your Samples: Empty Jar to Final Report!

Curious about how your samples become a final lab report? Here’s the path your samples take from the point of bottle order to your final report!



  • A bottle order is called in or emailed to ARA Staff, or submitted via our website. Unlike some other labs, anyone who answers the phone at ARA can assist you in ordering the necessary glassware.
  • The bottle order can be picked up by the client, or delivered. Our courier service is always FREE to our clients - to your office or to the project location.
  • When samples are ready for analysis, the client can contact us via phone, email or our website. FREE courier service to your office or a rendezvous location.
  • Samples are then logged in by our sample receipt staff. Temperatures are verified,  IDs, dates and times are cross referenced from bottles to COC, and correct sample volume/preservation are checked.
  • Then for the fun part! Your samples are prepared and analyzed by our certified laboratory professionals.
  • Now it’s Aaron’s turn to finalize your report! Data review is verified, your laboratory report cover-letter finalized and your final report is created via our LIMS system.
  • The final lab report is emailed or uploaded to our secure website for the client, and a hard copy is mailed with the invoice if requested. ARA is always trying to be green! E-copy reporting AND invoicing now available!
  • Results Delivered, Project Continues! How do you utilize our data? We’d love to hear from you as to how the data we provide impacts your decisions in the field!


How Can We Make Your Job Easier?

(Really, we want to know!)

Absolute Resource Associates needs your input! Do you use tablets or smart phones while you’re in the field? If so, can you think of any apps that might benefit you on-site? ARA would like to begin investing in the creation of an "ARA App" or two, if they would benefit you.


We’ve been discussing ideas like a Chain of Custody app, or perhaps some kind of app which would allow you to determine sample volume and/or bottle type and preservation. While these seem like good ideas, we really want to move forward with something you will use to truly make your job easier! The best 3 ideas will win a pair of ARA wine glasses! Click on the wine glass to submit your idea, or send an email to [email protected].



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Absolute Resource Associates
124 Heritage Ave. Unit #16 Portsmouth, NH 03801








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