ASTM E1197 - 12

    Standard Guide for Conducting a Terrestrial Soil-Core Microcosm Test

    Active Standard ASTM E1197 | Developed by Subcommittee: E50.47

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.06


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This guide provides a test procedure for evaluating the potential ecological impacts and environmental transport of a chemical in an agricultural (tilled, low-till, or no-till) or natural field soil ecosystem that may be released or spilled into the environment. The suggested test procedures are designed to supply site-specific information for a chemical without having to perform field testing. (See EPA 560/6-82-002 and EPA 560/6-82-003.)

    4.2 This guide is not specifically designed to address fate of chemicals in soils of forested ecosystems. However, with some modifications, it may be adapted for that purpose by the individual investigator.

    4.3 Specifically, this guide is used to determine the effect of a chemical on (1) growth and reproduction of either natural grassland vegetation or crops, and (2) nutrient uptake and cycling within the soil/plant system. Additionally, the soil-core microcosm will provide information on (1) potential for bioaccumulation (enrichment) of the chemical into plant tissues, and ( 2) the potential for and rate of transport of the chemical through soil to groundwater.

    4.4 The results of this test should be used in conjunction with information on the chemical and biological activity of the test substance to assess the relative environmental hazard and the potential for environmental movement once released.

    4.5 The test methods described in this guide are designed specifically for liquid or solid materials. Significant modifications of the exposure system would be necessary to accommodate chemicals that are volatile or that may be released in a gaseous or aerosolized form. For methods that could be adapted for use with volatile or gaseous test substances see Refs (3, 4, 5, 6).

    4.6 Results of a multi-year soil-core microcosm test have been correlated with data derived from a series of multi-year field plot tests for a limited number of materials. Information on the correlation between microcosm and field results can be found in Refs (7, 9, 10, 11).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide defines the requirements and procedures for using soil-core microcosms to test the environmental fate, ecological effects, and environmental transport of chemicals that may enter terrestrial ecosystems. The approach and the materials suggested for use in the microcosm test are also described.

    1.2 This guide details a procedure designed to supply site-specific or possibly regional information on the probable chemical fate and ecological effects in a soil system resulting from the release or spillage of chemicals into the environment in either liquid or solid form.

    1.3 Experience has shown that microcosms are most helpful in the assessment process after preliminary knowledge about the chemical properties and biological activity have been obtained. Data generated from the test can then be used to compare the potential terrestrial environmental hazards of a chemical.

    1.4  This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, 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.


    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

    D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils

    D511 Test Methods for Calcium and Magnesium In Water

    D515 Test Method for Phosphorus In Water

    D1426 Test Methods for Ammonia Nitrogen In Water

    D2167 Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of Soil in Place by the Rubber Balloon Method

    D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass

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

    D3867 Test Methods for Nitrite-Nitrate in Water

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    ChemicalFateTestGuid 1982 Available from Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Washington, DC. Also available as PB82 - 233008 from National Technical Information Service (NTIS), United States Department of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Spring-field, VA 22161.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.10 (Chemical characteristics of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 77131700(Toxic substances pollution)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E1197-12

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1197-12, Standard Guide for Conducting a Terrestrial Soil-Core Microcosm Test, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2012, www.astm.org

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