Scratching the Surface. Incremental Sampling Method (ISM) Guidance Document Released by MDEQ

Scratching the Surface.  Incremental Sampling Method (ISM) Guidance Document Released by MDEQ

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has released the final Incremental Sampling Methodology and Applications reference guide. The MDEQ guide can be used by environmental professionals as a technical reference for using incremental sampling method (ISM) techniques to evaluate contaminated land while managing risk and future use. ISM is also known as Multi-Incremental Sampling (MIS), Incremental Composite Sampling (ICS), or Incremental Sampling Methodology (IS). 

Incremental Sampling is a combination of field sampling and laboratory sample preparation and processing that is designed to provide an unbiased, statistically valid estimate of the mean contaminant concentration. According to the MDEQ, ISM reduces the data variability commonly associated with traditional discrete field sampling practices and laboratory methods. The MDEQ ISM document describes the following:

    • Incremental Sampling Concepts 
    • Systematic Planning and Data Quality Objectives (DQOs) 
    • Decision Unit (DU) Designation and Sampling Design 
    • Field Implementation 
    • Laboratory Processing and Analysis 

For an ISM project to be successful, it is important for the laboratory and environmental consulting firm to work closely together to discuss the sampling plan, decision units (DU), quality control samples, and data quality objectives (DQOs).   Unlike traditional discrete sample collection, ISM projects require unique sample volumes, field preparation, and processing. Merit Laboratories is experienced in supporting ISM projects for organic and inorganic parameters.  Please contact Merit to learn more about how we can partner with you on your next ISM project.