Sampling for PS Pollution

The aims of the sampling system must be clearly defined before it can be optimized.!31 The type of decision may be to determine land use, how much of an area is to be remediated, or what type of remediation process is required. Because sampling and the associated chemical and statistical analyses are expensive, careful planning of the sampling scheme is therefore a good investment. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use any ancillary data that are available. These data could be in the form of emission history from a stack, old photographs that give details of previous land uses, or agricultural records. Such data can at least give qualitative information.

As discussed before, PS pollution will typically be airborne from a stack, or waterborne from some effluent such as tannery waste, cattle dips, or mine waste. In many cases, the industry will have modified its emissions (e.g., cleaner production) or point of release (increased stack height), hence the current pattern of emission may not be closely related to the historic pattern of pollution. For example, liquid effluent may have been discharged previously into a bay, but that effluent may now be treated and perhaps discharged at some other point. Typically, the aim of a sampling scheme in these situations is to assess the maximum concentrations, the extent of the pollution, and the rate of decline in concentration from the PS. Often the sampling scheme will be used to produce maps of concentration isopleths of the pollutant.

The location of the sampling points would normally be concentrated towards the source of the pollution. A good scheme is to have sufficient samples to accurately assess the maximum pollution, and then space additional samples at increasing intervals. In most cases, the distribution of the pollutant will be asymmetric, with the maximum spread down the slope or down the prevailing wind. In such cases more samples should be placed in the direction of the expected gradient. This is a clear case of when ancillary data can be used effectively. A graph of concentration of the pollutant against the reciprocal of distance from the source is often informative.141 Sampling depths will depend on both the nature of the pollution and the reason for the investigation. If the pollution is from dust and it is unlikely to be leached, only surface sampling will be required. An example of this is pollution from silver smelting in Wales.151 In contrast, contamination from organic or mobile inorganic pollutants such as F compounds may migrate well down to the profile and deep sampling may be required.[6,71

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