Significance and Use
Environmental decisions often require the comparison of a statistic to a decision point or the comparison of a confidence limit to a regulatory limit to determine which of two alternate actions is the proper one to take.
This practice provides a logical basis for statistically deriving a decision point, or a confidence limit as an alternative, for different underlying presumptions.
This practice is useful to users of a planning process generally known as the data quality objectives (DQO) process (see Practice D5792), in which calculation of a decision point is needed for the decision rule.
1.1 This practice covers a logical basis for the derivation of a decision point and confidence limit when mean concentration is used for making environmental waste management decisions. The determination of a decision point or confidence limit should be made in the context of the defined problem. The main focus of this practice is on the determination of a decision point.
1.2 In environmental management decisions, the derivation of a decision point allows a direct comparison of a sample mean against this decision point, where similar decisions can be made by comparing a confidence limit against a concentration limit (for example, a regulatory limit, which will be used as a surrogate term for any concentration limit throughout this practice). This practice focuses on making environmental decisions using this kind of statistical comparison. Other factors, such as any qualitative information that may be important to decision-making, are not considered here.
1.3 A decision point is a concentration level statistically derived based on a specified decision error and is used in a decision rule for the purpose of choosing between alternative actions.
1.4 This practice derives the decision point and confidence limit in the framework of a statistical test of hypothesis under three different presumptions. The relationship between decision point and confidence limit is also described.
1.5 Determination of decision points and confidence limits for statistics other than mean concentration is not covered in this practice. This practice also assumes that the data are normally distributed. When this assumption does not apply, a transformation to normalize the data may be needed. If other statistical tests such as nonparametric methods are used in the decision rule, this practice may not apply. When there are many data points below the detection limit, the methods in this practice may not apply.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D4790 Terminology of Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Related Chemicals
D5792 Practice for Generation of Environmental Data Related to Waste Management Activities: Development of Data Quality Objectives
E456 Terminology Relating to Quality and Statistics
E1138 Terminology for Technical Aspects of Products Liability Litigation
confidence limit; data quality objectives; decision error; decision point; false negative; false positive; hypothesis; mean concentration; presumption; waste management; Confidence interval/limit/coefficient; Data quality objectives (DQO); Decision analysis; False positive/negative; Hypothesis; Mean concentration; Presumption; Waste managment activities
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