ASTM D6001 - 05(2012)

    Standard Guide for Direct-Push Groundwater Sampling for Environmental Site Characterization

    Active Standard ASTM D6001 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 16 $48.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 16 $48.00   ADD TO CART


    Significance and Use

    5.1 Direct-push water sampling is an economical method for obtaining discrete groundwater samples without the expense of permanent monitoring well installation (1-6).4 This guide can be used to profile potential groundwater contamination with depth by performing repetitive sampling events. Direct-push water sampling is often used in expedited site characterization (Practice D6235). Soils to be sampled must be permeable to allow filling of the sampler in a relatively short time. The zone to be sampled can be isolated by matching well screen length to obtain discrete samples of thin aquifers. Use of these sampling techniques will result in more detailed characterization of sites containing multiple aquifers. By inserting a protected sampling screen in direct contact with soil and with watertight risers, initial well development (Guide D5521) and purging of wells (Guide D6452) may not be required for the first sampling event. Discrete water sampling, combined with knowledge of location and thickness of target aquifers, may better define conditions in thin multiple aquifers than monitoring wells with screened intervals that can intersect and allow for intercommunication of multiple aquifers (4,6,7,9,13). Direct-push sampling performed without knowledge of the location and thickness of target aquifers can result in sampling of the wrong aquifer or penetration through confining beds.

    5.2 For sites that allow surface push of the sampling device, discrete water sampling is often performed in conjunction with the cone penetration test (Test Method D6067) (4-9), which is often used for stratigraphic mapping of aquifers, and to delineate high-permeability zones. In such cases, direct-push water sampling is normally performed close to cone holes. In complex alluvial environments, thin aquifers may vary in continuity such that water sampling devices may not intersect the same layer at equivalent depths as companion cone penetrometer holes.

    5.3 Water sampling chambers may be sealed to maintain in situ pressures and to allow for pressure measurements and permeability testing (6,9,12). Sealing of samples under pressure may reduce the possible volatilization of some organic compounds. Field comparisons may be used to evaluate any systematic errors in sampling equipments and methods. Comparison studies may include the need for pressurizing samples, or the use of vacuum to extract fluids more rapidly from low hydraulic conductivity soils (8.1.5.3).

    5.4 Degradation of water samples during handling and transport can be reduced if discrete water sampling events with protected screen samplers are combined with real time field analysis of potential contaminants. In limited studies, researchers have found that the combination of discrete protected screen sampling with onsite field analytical testing provide accurate data of aquifer water quality conditions at the time of testing (4,6). Direct-push water sampling with exposed screen sampling devices, which may require development or purging, are considered as screening tools depending on precautions that are taken during testing.

    5.5 A well screen may be pushed into undisturbed soils at the base of a drill hole and backfilled to make permanent installed monitoring wells. Procedures to complete direct-push wells as permanent installations are given in Practice D6725 and Guide D6724.

    5.6 In difficult driving conditions, penetrating to the required depth to ensure sealing of the sampler well screen may not be possible. If the well screen cannot be inserted into the soil with an adequate seal, the water-sampling event would require sealing in accordance with Practice D5092 to isolate the required aquifer. Selection of the appropriate equipment and methods to reach required depth at the site of concern should be made in consultation with experienced operators or manufacturers. If there is no information as to the subsurface conditions, initial explorations consisting of penetration-resistance tests, such as Test Method D6067, or actual direct-push testing trials can be performed to select the appropriate testing system.

    5.6.1 Typical penetration depths for a specific equipment configuration depend on many variables. Some of the variables are the driving system, the diameter of the sampler and riser pipes, and the resistance of the materials.

    5.6.2 Certain subsurface conditions may prevent sampler insertion. Penetration is not possible in hard rock and usually not possible in softer rocks such as claystones and shales. Coarse particles such as gravels, cobbles, and boulders may be difficult to penetrate or cause damage to the sampler or riser pipes. Cemented soil zones may be difficult to penetrate depending on the strength and thickness of the layers. If layers are present that prevent direct-push from the surface, the rotary or percussion drilling methods (Guide D6286) can be employed to advance a boring through impeding layers to reach testing zones.

    5.6.3 Driving systems are generally selected based on required testing depths and the materials to be penetrated. For systems using primarily static reaction force to insert the sampler, depth will be limited by the reaction weight of the equipment and penetration resistance of the material. The ability to pull back the rod string is also a consideration. Impact or percussion soil probing has an advantage of reducing the reaction weight required for penetration. Penetration capability in clays may be increased by reducing rod friction by enlarging tips or friction reducers. However, over reaming of the hole may increase the possibility of rod buckling and may allow for communication of differing groundwater tables. Hand-held equipment is generally used on very shallow investigations, typically less than 5-m depth, but depths on the order of 10 m have been reached in very soft lacustrine clays. Intermediate size driving systems, such as small truck-mounted hydraulic-powered push and impact drivers, typically work within depth ranges from 5 to 30 m. Heavy static-push cone penetrometer vehicles, such as 20-ton trucks, typically work within depth ranges from 15 to 45 m, and also reach depth ranges on the order of 102 m in soft ground conditions. Drilling methods (Guide D6286) using drilling and incremental sampling are frequently used in all depth ranges and can be used to reach depths on the order of 103 m.

    Note 1Users and manufacturers cannot agree on depth ranges for different soil types. Users should consult with experienced producers and manufacturers to determine depth capability for their site conditions.

    5.7 Combining multiple-sampling events in a single-sample chamber without decontamination (Practices D5088) is generally unacceptable. In this application, purging of the chamber should be performed to ensure isolation of the sampling event. Purging should be performed by removing several volumes of fluid until new chemical properties have been stabilized or elements are flushed with fluid of known chemistry. Purging requirements may depend upon the materials used in the sampler and the sampler design (Guide D6634).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers a review of methods for sampling groundwater at discrete points or in increments by insertion of sampling devices by static force or impact without drilling and removal of cuttings. By directly pushing the sampler, the soil is displaced and helps to form an annular seal above the sampling zone. Direct-push water sampling can be one time, or multiple sampling events. Methods for obtaining water samples for water quality analysis and detection of contaminants are presented.

    1.2 Direct-push methods of water sampling are used for groundwater quality studies. Water quality may vary at different depths below the surface depending on geohydrologic conditions. Incremental sampling or sampling at discrete depths is used to determine the distribution of contaminants and to more completely characterize geohydrologic environments. These investigations are frequently required in characterization of hazardous and toxic waste sites.

    1.3 Direct-push methods can provide accurate information on the distribution of water quality if provisions are made to ensure that cross-contamination or linkage between water bearing strata are not made. Discrete point sampling with a sealed (protected) screen sampler, combined with on-site analysis of water samples, can provide the most accurate depiction of water quality conditions at the time of sampling. Direct-push water sampling with exposed-screen sampling devices may be useful and are considered as screening tools depending on precautions taken during testing. Exposed screen samplers may require development or purging depending on sampling and quality assurance plans. Results from direct-push investigations can be used to guide placement of permanent groundwater monitoring wells and direct remediation efforts. Multiple sampling events can be performed to depict conditions over time. Use of double tube tooling, where the outer push tube seals the hole, prevents the sampling tools from coming in contact with the formation, except at the sampling point.

    1.4 Field test methods described in this guide include installation of temporary well points, and insertion of water samplers using a variety of insertion methods. Insertion methods include: (1) soil probing using combinations of impact, percussion, or vibratory driving with or without additions of smooth static force; (2) smooth static force from the surface using hydraulic cone penetrometer (Guide D6067) or drilling equipment (Guide D6286), and incremental drilling combined with direct-push water sampling events. Under typical incremental drilling operations, samplers are advanced with assistance of drilling equipment by smooth hydraulic push, or mechanical impacts from hammers or other vibratory equipment. Direct-push water sampling maybe combined with other sampling methods (Guide D6169) in drilled holes. Methods for borehole abandonment by grouting are also addressed.

    1.5 Direct-push water sampling is limited to soils that can be penetrated with available equipment. In strong soils damage may result during insertion of the sampler from rod bending or assembly buckling. Penetration may be limited, or damage to samplers or rods can occur in certain ground conditions, some of which are discussed in 5.6. Information in this procedure is limited to sampling of saturated soils in perched or saturated groundwater conditions. Some soil formations do not yield water in a timely fashion for direct-push sampling. In the case of unyielding formations direct-push soil sampling can be performed (Guide D6282).

    1.6 This guide does not address installation of permanent water sampling systems such as those presented in Practice D5092. Direct-push monitoring wells for long term monitoring are addressed in Guide D6724 and Practice D6725.

    1.7 Direct-push water sampling for geoenvironmental exploration will often involve safety planning, administration, and documentation.

    1.8 This guide does not purport to address all aspects of exploration and site safety. It is the responsibility of the user of this guide to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations before its use.

    1.9 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

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

    D4448 Guide for Sampling Ground-Water Monitoring Wells

    D4750 Test Method for Determining Subsurface Liquid Levels in a Borehole or Monitoring Well (Observation Well)

    D5088 Practice for Decontamination of Field Equipment Used at Waste Sites

    D5092 Practice for Design and Installation of Ground Water Monitoring Wells

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

    D5314 Guide for Soil Gas Monitoring in the Vadose Zone

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

    D5474 Guide for Selection of Data Elements for Groundwater Investigations

    D5521 Guide for Development of Ground-Water Monitoring Wells in Granular Aquifers

    D5730 Guide for Site Characterization for Environmental Purposes With Emphasis on Soil, Rock, the Vadose Zone and Groundwater

    D5778 Test Method for Electronic Friction Cone and Piezocone Penetration Testing of Soils

    D5903 Guide for Planning and Preparing for a Groundwater Sampling Event

    D6067 Practice for Using the Electronic Piezocone Penetrometer Tests for Environmental Site Characterization

    D6089 Guide for Documenting a Ground-Water Sampling Event

    D6235 Practice for Expedited Site Characterization of Vadose Zone and Groundwater Contamination at Hazardous Waste Contaminated Sites

    D6452 Guide for Purging Methods for Wells Used for Groundwater Quality Investigations

    D6517 Guide for Field Preservation of Groundwater Samples

    D6564 Guide for Field Filtration of Groundwater Samples

    D6634 Guide for the Selection of Purging and Sampling Devices for Ground-Water Monitoring Wells

    D6724 Guide for Installation of Direct Push Groundwater Monitoring Wells

    D6725 Practice for Direct Push Installation of Prepacked Screen Monitoring Wells in Unconsolidated Aquifers

    D6771 Practice for Low-Flow Purging and Sampling for Wells and Devices Used for Ground-Water Quality Investigations

    D6911 Guide for Packaging and Shipping Environmental Samples for Laboratory Analysis


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.060.10 (Water of natural resources)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D6001-05R12

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    ASTM D6001

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top