Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kevin Gardner

Second Advisor

Phil Ramsey

Third Advisor

Thomas Douglas


Small-arms, artillery, mortar, and pyrotechnic military training introduces solid metallic residues into the environment. Previous energetic residue research showed conventional judgmental soil sampling and associated sample preparation methodologies are inadequate to address the heterogeneous distribution and still yield representative and reproducible results for the area of interest. Metallic residue deposition at military small-arms ranges occurs in a heterogeneous distributional pattern, similar to solid particulate energetic residue deposition.

One of the primary objectives of an environmental investigation is to estimate the mean contaminant concentration to evaluate human and ecological risk in an exposure unit (i.e., an area where the receptors are exposed to contamination). One assumption of the risk assessment is that the receptors spend an equal amount of time in every portion of the exposure unit. Evaluation of the appropriateness of conventional soil sampling for military small-arms ranges with solid metallic residues indicated the conventional approach of judgmental sampling was inadequate for providing representative and reproducible mean estimates for the exposure unit. Consequently, a series of experiments evaluated possible changes to the field sampling and laboratory sample preparation procedures to improve the representativeness and reproducibility of the sample results. The outcome of this study found that a collective series of changes involving soil sampling and sample preparation procedures provided superior estimates of the population (exposure unit) relative to conventional grab sampling. Overall, the dissertation results indicate a sampling approach referred to as the Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) provided an improved estimate of the population (exposure unit) relative to conventional grab sampling and has the potential to reduce sampling costs by 5 to 50 percent. Incorporation of the dissertation findings into suggested modifications for United States Environmental Protection Agency SW-846 Method 3050B for digestion of soils or sediments undergoing metals analysis is in progress; including the addition of an appendix outlining the procedures for collection of systematic random surface soil samples in the field using the incremental approach.