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Formulation of cleanup standards for trace elements with probability plots

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Probability plots of trace element concentrations may be used to partition, or segregate, sample data into its constituent populations. Two populations are typically present in data from sites requiring remedial action, one representing clean, uncontaminated soil or sediment (background) and the other representing contaminated ground. The use of such plots in the analysis and evaluation of environmental data permits a statistical characterization of the background populations, from which defensible cleanup criteria may be developed. These criteria will be environmentally conservative, yet will minimize the amount of soil removed in a remedial action. An example is given from a successful cleanup of a surface impoundment.

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Fleischhauer, H.L., Korte, N. Formulation of cleanup standards for trace elements with probability plots. Environmental Management 14, 95–105 (1990).

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