ASTM D5911 / D5911M - 96(2010)e1

    Standard Practice for Minimum Set of Data Elements to Identify a Soil Sampling Site

    Active Standard ASTM D5911 / D5911M | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    Normally, the basic soil data are gathered by trained personnel during the field investigation phase of a study. Each agency or company has its own methods of obtaining, recording, and storing the information. Usually, these data are recorded onto forms that serve both in organizing the information in the field and the office, and often as entry forms for a computer data base. For soil data to be of maximum value to the current project and any future studies, especially those involved in the assessment of the environment, it is essential that a minimum set of key identification data elements be recorded for each sampling site.

    When obtaining basic data concerning a subsurface soil sampling site, it is necessary to thoroughly identify that sampling site so that it may be readily located again with minimal uncertainty and may be accurately plotted and interpreted for data parameters in relationship to other sampling sites. For example, information can be presented on maps and in summary tables (see Practice D3740).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers what information should be obtained to uniquely identify any soil sampling or examination site where an absolute and recoverable location is necessary for quality control of the study, such as a waste disposal project. The minimum set of data elements for sampling site identification (DEFFSI) was developed considering the needs for informational data bases, such as geographic information systems (GIS). Other distinguishing details, such as individual site characteristics help in singularly cataloging the site. For studies that are not environmentally regulated, such as for an agricultural or preconstruction survey, the data specifications established an agency or company may be different from that of the minimum set (see Guide D420 and Practice D5254).

    1.2 As used in this practice, a soil sampling site is meant to be a single point, not a geographic area or property, located by an X, Y, and Z coordinate position at land surface or a fixed datum. All soil data collected for the site are directly related to the coordinate position, for example, sample from x feet (or metres) or sample from interval x1 to x2 ft (or metres) below the X, Y, and Z coordinate position. A soil sampling site can include a test well, augered or bored hole, excavation, grab sample, test pit, sidewall sample, stream bed, or any other site where samples of the soil can be collected or examined for the purpose intended.

    1.3 The collection of soil samples is a disruptive procedure as the material is usually extracted from its natural environment and then transported from the site to a laboratory for analysis. Normally, in this highly variable type of material, the adjacent soil profile will not be precisely the same as the sampled soil. For these reasons, when soil samples are removed the same material cannot be collected from the site later. Therefore, it is essential that the minimum set of DEFSSI be thoroughly documented and identified especially with an accurate location.

    1.4 Samples of soil (sediment) filtered from the water of streams, rivers, or lakes are not in the scope of this practice.

    Note 1—There are many additional data elements that may be necessary to identify and to describe a soil sampling site, but are not included in the minimum set of data elements. An agency or company may require additional data elements as a part of their minimum set for a specific project or program.

    1.5 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units [presented in brackets] are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

    1.5.1 The gravitational system of inch-pound units is used when dealing with inch-pound units. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight), while the unit for mass is slugs. The rationalized slug unit is not given, unless dynamic (F = ma) calculations are involved.

    1.6 This practice includes those data elements that will distinguish a site's geographical location on Earth, its location by political regimes, its source identifiers, and its individual site characteristics. These elements apply to all soil and geotechnical sampling sites involved in environmental assessment studies. Each category of site, such as a bore hole or excavation, may require additional data elements to be complete.

    1.7 Some suggested components and representative codes for coded DEFSSI, for example, setting, are those established by Ref (1), by Practice D2487, by the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey in Ref (3), and by Boulding in Ref (4) and (5).

    Note 2—The data elements presented in this practice do not uniquely imply a computer data base, but the minimum set of soil data elements that should be collected for entry into any type of permanent file.

    1.8 This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this practice 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

    D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D2487 Practice for Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System)

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

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

    D5254 Practice for Minimum Set of Data Elements to Identify a Ground-Water Site


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.05 (Examination of soil in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D5911_D5911M-96R10E01

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D5911 / D5911M-96(2010)e1, Standard Practice for Minimum Set of Data Elements to Identify a Soil Sampling Site, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2010, www.astm.org

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