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Applying Incremental Sampling Methodology to Soils Containing Heterogeneously Distributed Metallic Residues to Improve Risk Analysis

Abstract

This study compares conventional grab sampling to incremental sampling methodology (ISM) to characterize metal contamination at a military small-arms-range. Grab sample results had large variances, positively skewed non-normal distributions, extreme outliers, and poor agreement between duplicate samples even when samples were co-located within tens of centimeters of each other. The extreme outliers strongly influenced the grab sample means for the primary contaminants lead (Pb) and antinomy (Sb). In contrast, median and mean metal concentrations were similar for the ISM samples. ISM significantly reduced measurement uncertainty of estimates of the mean, increasing data quality (e.g., for environmental risk assessments) with fewer samples (e.g., decreasing total project costs). Based on Monte Carlo resampling simulations, grab sampling resulted in highly variable means and upper confidence limits of the mean relative to ISM.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Defense, Environmental Science and Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which provided financial support through the ESTCP ER-0918 project, Demonstration of the Attributes of Multi-Increment Sampling and Proper Sample Processing Protocols for the Characterization of Metals on DoD Facilities, for Dr. Clausen to conduct the initial research. ESTCP provided a review of the study design and the final report. ESTCP had no involvement in the analysis, interpretation, writing, or decision to submit this paper for publication. The research presented in this paper is from a thesis submitted to the Graduate School at the University of New Hampshire as part of the requirements for completion of a doctoral degree.

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Correspondence to J. L. Clausen.

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Clausen, J.L., Georgian, T., Gardner, K.H. et al. Applying Incremental Sampling Methodology to Soils Containing Heterogeneously Distributed Metallic Residues to Improve Risk Analysis. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 155–161 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2252-x

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Keywords

  • Soil sampling
  • Spatial statistical analysis
  • Heterogeneity
  • Metallic residue
  • Small-arms range
  • Upper confidence limit