Quality Assessment of Soil Pollution Monitoring: Focus on Representativeness

  •  Andre Desaules    


Soil monitoring data can be no better than the quality of the monitoring system they stem from. Quality assessment (QA) of soil monitoring requires reliable and comprehensive quality assessment and quality control (QA/QC) schemes including (1) the selection of parameters and measurement quality related to (2) space and (3) time. It can be presented by a synoptic diagram with three axes based on a table with quality criteria. The two major quality parameters are the degrees of resolution (precision) and representativeness (bias), whereas the latter does not yet include parameter selection and soil sampling.

As a result the quality of soil monitoring is usually greatly overestimated. This finding is supported by examples and practical recommendations are given. Since full representativeness for the three aspects of soil monitoring is a fiction in practice, their biases have to be quantified completely, continuously and reliably. The most important challenges are to quantitatively assess and control the representativeness of primary soil sampling and to improve it.

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