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    ASTM D4700 - 15

    Standard Guide for Soil Sampling from the Vadose Zone

    Active Standard ASTM D4700 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Chemical analyses of liquids, solids, and gases from the vadose zone can provide information on the presence, possible source, migration route, and physical-chemical behavior of contaminants. Remedial or mitigating measures can be formulated based on this information. This guide describes devices and procedures that can be used to obtain vadose zone soil samples.

    5.2 Soil sampling is useful for the reasons presented in Section 1. However, it should be recognized that the general method is destructive, and that resampling at an exact location is not possible. Therefore, if a long term monitoring program is being designed; other methods for obtaining samples should be considered.

    Note 1: The quality of the result produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself ensure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers procedures that may be used for obtaining soil samples from the vadose zone (unsaturated zone). Samples can be collected for a variety of reasons including the following:

    1.1.1 Stratigraphic description,

    1.1.2 Hydraulic conductivity testing,

    1.1.3 Moisture content measurement,

    1.1.4 Moisture release curve construction,

    1.1.5 Geotechnical testing,

    1.1.6 Soil gas analyses,

    1.1.7 Microorganism extraction,

    1.1.8 Pore liquid evaluation, or

    1.1.9 Laboratory chemical analysis identifying contaminant types and concentrations within soils.

    1.2 Guides D6169 on Selection of Soil and Rock Sampling Devices and D6282 on Drilling methods for Environmental Site Characterization provide subsequent supplemental information to the contents of this standard.

    1.2.1 Direct Push Soil Sampling (Guide D6282) and Sonic Drilling for Site Characterization (Practice D6914) are used extensively for environmental soil sampling in the Vadose zone.

    1.2.1.1 Subsurface explorations are documented in accordance with D5434 on Logging of Subsurface Explorations.

    (1) Soil core may require processing using Practice D6640 on Collection and Handling of Soil Cores for Environmental Explorations.

    1.3 This guide focuses on methods that provide soil samples for chemical analyses of the soil or contained liquids or contaminants. However, comments on how methods may be modified for other objectives are included.

    1.4 This guide does not describe sampling methods for lithified deposits and rocks (for example, sandstone, shale, tuff, granite).

    1.5 In general, it is prudent to perform all field work with at least two people present. This increases safety and facilitates efficient data collection.

    1.6 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.8 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word “Standard” in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D1452 Practice for Soil Exploration and Sampling by Auger Borings

    D1586 Test Method for Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils

    D1587 Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling of Soils for Geotechnical Purposes

    D2488 Practice for Description and Identification of Soils (Visual-Manual Procedure)

    D3550 Practice for Thick Wall, Ring-Lined, Split Barrel, Drive Sampling of Soils

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4220 Practices for Preserving and Transporting Soil Samples

    D5434 Guide for Field Logging of Subsurface Explorations of Soil and Rock

    D6151 Practice for Using Hollow-Stem Augers for Geotechnical Exploration and Soil Sampling

    D6169 Guide for Selection of Soil and Rock Sampling Devices Used With Drill Rigs for Environmental Investigations

    D6282 Guide for Direct Push Soil Sampling for Environmental Site Characterizations

    D6286 Guide for Selection of Drilling Methods for Environmental Site Characterization

    D6519 Practice for Sampling of Soil Using the Hydraulically Operated Stationary Piston Sampler

    D6640 Practice for Collection and Handling of Soils Obtained in Core Barrel Samplers for Environmental Investigations

    D6907 Practice for Sampling Soils and Contaminated Media with Hand-Operated Bucket Augers

    D6914 Practice for Sonic Drilling for Site Characterization and the Installation of Subsurface Monitoring Devices


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.060 (Geology. Meteorology. Hydrology)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D4700-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D4700-15, Standard Guide for Soil Sampling from the Vadose Zone, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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