ASTM D6538 - 12

    Standard Guide for Sampling Wastewater With Automatic Samplers

    Active Standard ASTM D6538 | Developed by Subcommittee: D34.01.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.04

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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This guide provides persons responsible for designing and implementing wastewater sampling programs with a summary of the types of automatic wastewater samplers, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of samplers and addresses recommended procedures for their use. The field settings are primarily, but not limited to, open channel flows in enclosed (e.g., sewer) systems or open (e.g., streams or open ditches, and sampling pressure lines) systems.

    TABLE 1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual versus Automatic Sampling of Wastewater (3)





    Low capital cost

    Increased variability due to sample handling


    Personnel can compensate for various situations

    Inconsistency in collection


    Personnel can document
    unusual conditions

    High cost of labor assuming composite or multiple grab samples are collected


    Low maintenance

    Repetitious and monotonous task for personnel


    Extra samples can be collected
    in a short time if necessary




    Consistent samples

    Considerable maintenance for batteries and cleaning; susceptible to plugging by solids


    Decreased variability caused by sample handling

    Restricted in size to the general specifications


    Minimal labor requirement for sampling

    Greater potential for sample contamination


    Capable of collecting multiple
    grab and multiple aliquot
    composite samples

    May be subject to damage by vandals



    High capital cost

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers the selection and use of automatic wastewater samplers including procedures for their use in obtaining representative samples. Automatic wastewater samplers are intended for the unattended collection of samples that are representative of the parameters of interest in the wastewater body. While this guide primarily addresses the sampling of wastewater, the same automatic samplers may be used to sample process streams and natural water bodies.

    1.2 The guide does not address general guidelines for planning waste sampling activities (see Guide D4687), development of data quality objectives (see Practice D5792), the design of monitoring systems and determination of the number of samples to collect (see Practice D6311), operational details of any specific type of sampler, in-situ measurement of parameters of interest, data assessment and statistical interpretation of resultant data (see Guide D6233), or sampling and field quality assurance (see Guide D5612). It also does not address sampling groundwater.

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3.1 Exception—The inch-pound units given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.4 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.

    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

    D4687 Guide for General Planning of Waste Sampling

    D5088 Practice for Decontamination of Field Equipment Used at Waste Sites

    D5612 Guide for Quality Planning and Field Implementation of a Water Quality Measurement Program

    D5681 Terminology for Waste and Waste Management

    D5792 Practice for Generation of Environmental Data Related to Waste Management Activities: Development of Data Quality Objectives

    D6233 Guide for Data Assessment for Environmental Waste Management Activities

    D6311 Guide for Generation of Environmental Data Related to Waste Management Activities: Selection and Optimization of Sampling Design

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.060.45 (Examination of water in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41104007(Water samplers); 47100000(Water and wastewater treatment supply and disposal)

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/D6538-12

    Citation Format

    ASTM D6538-12, Standard Guide for Sampling Wastewater With Automatic Samplers, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2012,

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