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Statistical Applications for Environmental Analysis and Risk Assessment by Joseph Ofungwu

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Chapter 19Data Quality Objectives and Environmental Sampling Design

19.1 Introduction and Overview

Typically, the need for environmental data is triggered by reports of an environmental concern or concerns. For instance, a home owner who uses a groundwater well for potable water and detects an unusual taste or odor in the water would normally report the incident to an environmental “hotline” or contact the appropriate environmental protection department. The ensuing investigation of the complaint would usually include the collection and laboratory analysis of samples of the water to determine the nature of the contamination and whether contaminants are present at concentrations deemed unacceptable. In many cases, the data collection activity is implemented without adequate preplanning to ensure that the data collected will meet the specific project needs. Although environmental protection agencies usually have well established protocols for developing sampling and analysis plans, the plans are often more focused on sample collection techniques, laboratory analytical methods, and quality assurance protocols (blind duplicates, field blanks, etc.). The statistical analysis that would be needed to process and interpret the data is often overlooked in the sampling plan, with the result that the statistical analyst often finds that the number and locations of the data collected are not optimal for performing the required statistical analyses.

The data quality objectives (DQO) process, ...

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