Incremental Soil Sampling
Incremental Sampling (IS) is a combined field sampling and laboratory sample processing protocol that is designed to provide an unbiased and statistically valid estimate of the mean value of a contaminant (within pre-defined boundaries) at a site. IS reduces or limits the data variability commonly associated with more traditional discrete field sampling practices and laboratory methods. When properly executed, IS produces unbiased and reproducible data that, in most cases, are more representative of the contaminant concentrations at contaminated sites than could be achieved using traditional discrete sampling practices. As a result, the IS approach can provide better information from which decisions regarding contaminant concentrations at a site will be made.
Common deficiencies that may be associated with the exclusive use of discrete sampling methods include poor spatial coverage, inadequate sample density, or data
that cannot be used to statistically represent the entire area of interest (i.e., with a reasonable level of confidence). Discrete sampling often produces a sample data set that is not representative or reproducible, and therefore, difficult to make decisions with, and to defend those decisions with. Common laboratory sub-sampling methods can add additional error. The analysis of a “grab” aliquot from the field sample may not be representative of the sample submitted for analysis, let alone the area
of a site that decision makers hope to represent. IS was developed to address these and other limitations of traditional sampling and laboratory analysis methods.
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