The Nielsen Environmental Field School

Developing an Effective Environmental Sampling Strategy Training Courses

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Developing an effective environmental sampling strategy is a complex task that requires significant planning and forethought. Prior to selecting an appropriate strategy, it is essential to review as many background documents as possible about the site and its surroundings, to create an initial conceptual site model (CSM). With the preliminary CSM in place, you must then field-verify the details of your model by conducting a thorough site reconnaissance. There are many questions that must be asked and answered during site reconnaissance that will guide you through the development of an effective sampling strategy. This topic is covered in two modules. The first module walks you through the development of a CSM and demonstrates how to conduct an effective site reconnaissance.

You will learn how to use information obtained during site reconnaissance to fine-tune the CSM and how information obtained in the field during site reconnaissance is used in the development of effective sampling strategies and selection of appropriate sampling procedures. This module also provides a detailed look at sample collection from the perspective of determining whether to collect discrete or composite samples. The second module covers the why, where and how, and the critical importance of collecting background samples, as well as the various strategies typically utilized to collect samples in three dimensions to satisfy project objectives. You may opt to take just one of the modules, but it is strongly recommended that you take both modules in the prescribed order if you want comprehensive coverage of the subject.

Developing a Conceptual Site Model and Fine-Tuning it With Site Reconnaissance

  • Developing a Preliminary Conceptual Site Model (CSM) Prior to Developing Your Sampling Strategy
  • Types of Background Information to Review
  • Conducting an Effective Site Reconnaissance
  • Questions to Ask During Site Reconnaissance to Fine-Tune the CSM and Focus the Sampling Strategy
  • Addressing Environmental Variability in the Field
  • Evaluation of the Best Type of Sample to Meet Project Objectives – Grab (Discrete) Sampling vs. Composite Sampling
  • Advantages and Limitations of Grab (Discrete) Samples vs. Composite Samples

Strategies for Three-Dimensional Sampling of Environmental Media

  • Collecting Background Samples – Why, Where and How
  • Determining Where to Collect Samples
    • Haphazard Sampling
    • Judgmental Sampling
    • Probability (Statistical) Sampling
    • Multi-Incremental Sampling
    • Search Sampling
    • Hybrid Sampling

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