Standard Active Last Updated: Jan 10, 2022 Track Document
ASTM D6169/D6169M-21

Standard Guide for Selection of Subsurface Soil and Rock Sampling Devices for Environmental and Geotechnical Investigations

Standard Guide for Selection of Subsurface Soil and Rock Sampling Devices for Environmental and Geotechnical Investigations D6169_D6169M-21 ASTM|D6169_D6169M-21|en-US Standard Guide for Selection of Subsurface Soil and Rock Sampling Devices for Environmental and Geotechnical Investigations Standard new BOS Vol. 04.09 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

4.1 Direct observation of the subsurface by the collection of soil and rock samples is an essential part of investigation for geotechnical and environmental purposes. This guide provides information on the major types of soil and rock sampling devices to assist in selection of devices that are suitable for known site geologic conditions, and provide samples that meet project objectives. This guide should not be used as a substitute for consulting with professional experience in sampling soil or rock in similar formations before determining the best method and type of sampling.

4.2 This guide should be used in conjunction with Guide D6286 on drilling methods and sampling equipment, and diamond drilling Guide D2113. Drilling and sampler specific practices and guides listed throughout this guide are used as part of developing a detailed site investigation and sampling plan. The sampling plan should start with development of a site conceptual model and phased investigations to locate sampling sites (D420, D6286). The selection of sampling equipment and sampling devices goes hand-in-hand. In some cases, soil sample requirements may influence choice of drilling method, or conversely, types of available sampling equipment may influence choice of sampling devices.

4.3 Samples should be handled in accordance with Practice D4220/D4220M, for preserving and transporting soil samples, Practice D5079 for preserving and transporting rock core samples for geotechnical purposes. For environmental work sample handling procedures should be in accordance with Practice D6640 for collection and handling of soils obtained in core barrel samplers for environmental investigations, Practice D3694 for preparation of sample containers and for preservation of organic constituents, and Practice D5088 for decontamination of field equipment used at waste sites.

Note 1: The quality of the result produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.


1.1 This guide covers guidance for the selection of soil and rock sampling devices used for the purpose of characterizing in situ physical and hydraulic properties, chemical characteristics, subsurface lithology, stratigraphy and structure, and hydrogeologic units in geotechnical and environmental investigations.

1.2 This guide should be used in conjunction with referenced ASTM Guides D420 and D5730, and individual practices for sampling devices referenced in 2.1. Soil and rock samplers are most often used in drilled/pushed boreholes using various drilling methods/technologies in Guide D6286 and it addresses ability to use these samplers.

1.3 Refer to Practice D6640 and Guide D4547 for handling of samples for environmental investigations. Practices D4220/D4220M and D5079 are used for preserving and transporting soil and rock samples.

1.4 This guide does not address selection of sampling devices for hand-held soil sampling equipment (Guide D4700) and soil sample collection with solid-stem augering devices (Practice D1452/D1452M), or collection of grab samples or hand-carved block samples (D7015/D7015M) from accessible excavations. Refer to X1.2 for additional guidance on use of soil and rock sampling devices for both environmental and geotechnical applications.

1.5 This guide does not address devices for collecting cores from submerged sediments or other sampling devices for solid wastes. Refer to Guides D4823 and D6232 for these materials.

1.6 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units 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.

1.7 This guide offers an organized collection of information or series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education and experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. The word “Standard” in the title of this document means that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.

1.8 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.09
Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21
Pages: 28
DOI: 10.1520/D6169_D6169M-21
ICS Code: 13.080.99; 73.100.99