5.2 Sampling Tools

The sampling tool should obtain cylindrical or core-shaped increments of a constant depth from the presented surface.

The selection of the appropriate sampling tool for an ISM sample depends on the cohesiveness and composition of the soil substrate. To minimize the increment extraction and delimitation errors described in Section 2.5.5, the sampling tool should obtain cylindrical or core-shaped increments of a constant depth from the presented surface. The diameter of the sampling tool should be a minimum of three times the diameter (d) of the largest particle present in a coarse matrix (d ≥ 3 mm), and 3d + 10 mm for a fine material (Pitard 1993). Caution should be taken to select tools that equally retain all of the particles over the entire depth of interest. In general, sampling tools should have a diameter of at least 16 mm. For less cohesive soils, attempts should be made to retain the entire, complete core increment.

See Figure 5-2a and Figure 5-2b for examples of sampling tools for nonvolatile ISM sample collection and Figure 5-12 for examples of sampling tools for ISM collection of VOCs. These are provided as examples only. Various other hand augers, core sampling tools, step probes, etc., are available from environmental or agricultural suppliers and are applicable to ISM if their specifications meet project DQOs. Again, the sampling tool(s) selected should minimize increment extraction and delimitation errors.

Figure 5-2a. Examples of coring devices for nonvolatile soil increment collection.
Top to bottom: Multi-Incremental Sampling Tool (MIST™), EVC Incremental Sampler, JMC Backsaver Handle, and Soil Tube.



Figure 5-2b. Example of a drill core bit sampling tool for nonvolatile soil increment collection.



The sampling tools required to collect core-shaped soil increments of required length in the field are necessarily site specific. Alternate sampling tools that meet the basic ISM principles and project-specific objectives may be available currently or in the future. A variety of tools to address different soil types or site conditions should be taken into the field for any given project. Cylindrical increments of a controlled depth can be obtained from cohesive soils with a variety of commercially available manually- and machine-operated coring tools. For depths of 10 cm (3.9 inches) or less, individual increments often can be rapidly collected and dispensed into a sample container using hand-operated tools. For noncohesive soils and sediments, short- and long-nose scoops (trowels) can be used; however, care should be taken to obtain a "core-shaped" increment over the entire depth of interest. For depths greater than 10 cm, or for hardened and unconsolidated rocky geological materials, coring devices can be advanced with a hammer, slide bar, or some other means of mechanical assistance. Depending on site familiarity, one or several sampling tools should be readily accessible during all sampling activities.

Sampling devices can be used within a DU without decontamination, but should be decontaminated or disposed of between DUs.

Sampling devices can be used within a DU without decontamination but should be decontaminated or disposed of between DUs. If sampling tools will be used for two or more DUs, they should be cleaned of soil particles, decontaminated with the appropriate solutions or solvents, and dried between DUs. Typically, rinse (decontamination) blanks can be used to evaluate the potential effects of cross contamination, if needed.