Methane Testing – Land Developer’s Guide

Methane Testing Soil

Methane testing is a comprehensive soil gas screening event, aiming to determine hazardous underground gas categories at a property. The explosive dangers associated with methane soil gas have become a growing concern for most building departments in our nation. Thus, methane testing specifically determines whether combustible soil gas exists under a property, and what levels of mitigation are necessary to protect occupants. Methane soil gas is can be the result of a few factors. For instance, naturally occurring shallow petroleum deposits can cause an abundance of CH4 gas. The La Brea Tar Pits are a prime example of this. Another factor resulting in methane gas are the affects of human activity, such as pollution and land filling. Updated December 25, 2018.

Methane is colorless and odorless, and migrates easily through soil and into building spaces. In fact, CH4 gas can build up to lethal concentrations inside basements and ground level structures. Consequently, the results of a methane test are valuable for optimizing a mitigation system to stop the gas from migrating inward. An optimized mitigation system will cost less to build (and maintain). Alternatively, finding low results of the soil gas test can also help eliminate certain default mitigation parameters, that are otherwise over-engineered.

Top Methane Testing Company:

Choosing a methane testing company is an important process. Experts recommend hiring the best company to make sure the job is done right.

Geo Forward, Inc.
(888) 930-6604

Methane testing is done by drilling to collect soil and soil gas samples.

Typically, these soil gas hazards come from historical oil fields and landfills. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) published a Guidance for Evaluating Landfill Gas Emissions.  Furthermore, the City of Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS) published Site Testing Standards for Soil Gas.

Beware of the Low Bidders

Stay away from the suspiciously low costing companies. Just like anything else, you get what you pay for. The lowest bidders for this type of work, have a history of producing faulty testing results, which can pose a silent threat to the health and safety of building occupants. Additionally, legal ramifications and law suits may arise from poor quality assessments. Although lower prices seem attractive up front, choosing the wrong company will cost you more time and money in the long run.

Avoid Construction Delays & Budget Issues

Far too many times, land developers purchase properties without knowing about historical oil and gas wells or landfills onsite. As a result of these historical land-uses, the building department flags properties within a “high methane zone.

The best advice this forum could provide any developer is: Make sure your environmental due diligence is in place BEFORE you purchase the property. Any site assessment should disclose whether oil wells or landfills are within proximity of the property.  And although a soil gas survey isn’t too costly, building a mitigation system can be. Besides, it’s prudent to find out if you need to mitigate or not before buying and building.

If methane testing results do lead to mitigation: Its best to have a cost-estimate for mitigation prepared as early as possible.

Top Rated Methane Mitigation Company:

Choosing a methane mitigation company is an important process.

Geo Forward, Inc.
Nationwide Methane Mitigation Experts
Toll Free: (888) 930-6604

By: Nicholas Burton

Categories: The Methane Zone