Analyzing soils for contaminants can be costly. Generally, discrete samples are gathered from within a study area, analyzed by a laboratory and the results are used in a site-specific statistical analysis. Because of the heterogeneities that exist in soil samples within study areas, a large amount of variability and skewness may be present in the sample population. This necessitates collecting a large number of samples to obtain reliable inference on the mean contaminant concentration and to understand the spatial patterns for future remediation. Composite, or Incremental, sampling is a commonly applied method for gathering multiple discrete samples and physically combining them, such that each combination of discrete samples requires a single laboratory analysis, which reduces cost and can improve the estimates of the mean concentration. While incremental sampling can reduce cost and improve mean estimates, current implementations do not readily facilitate the characterization of spatial patterns or the detection of elevated constituent regions within study areas. The methods we present in this work provide efficient estimation and inference for the mean contaminant concentration over the entire spatial area and enable the identification of high contaminant regions within the area of interest. We develop sample design methodologies that explicitly define the characteristics of these designs (such as sample grid layout) and quantify the number of incremental samples that must be obtained under a design criteria to control false positive and false negative (Type I and II) decision errors. We present the sample design theory and specifications as well as results on simulated and real data.
Composite Discrete Extreme value Hot-spot Incremental MIS Multi-increment