Standard Article

Measurements in Environmental Engineering

Part I. Civil and Environmental Engineering

  1. Daniel A. Vallero

Published Online: 16 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118436707.hmse005

Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering

Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Vallero, D. A. 2013. Measurements in Environmental Engineering. Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering. I:5:159–204.

Author Information

  1. Duke University, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 NOV 2013


The quality of environmental decisions depends on reliable environmental data. These data are obtained from field samples that are either analyzed on site or collected for laboratory analysis. Measurements of air, water, soil, sediment, and biota are used either directly, for example, monitoring wells around a hazardous waste site, or indirectly, for example, extrapolations in time and space. Extrapolations of environmental conditions are often accomplished using models. This chapter provides guidance on selecting sites to be sampled, preparing environmental monitoring plans based on data quality objectives, and analyzing the samples. The numerous sources of variability and uncertainty are introduced, including means of expressing data limitations. The chapter concludes with examples of how measurement data have been used, notably as environmental indicators and in environmental indices.


  • abiotic;
  • Beer–Lambert Law;
  • biochemical oxygen demand (BOD);
  • biotic;
  • chromatography;
  • composite sample;
  • data quality objectives (DQO);
  • dissolved oxygen (DO);
  • environmental contaminant;
  • environmental index;
  • environmental indicators;
  • environmental sampling and analysis;
  • extraction;
  • geographic information systems (GIS);
  • grab sample;
  • limit of detection (LoD);
  • limit of quantification (LoQ);
  • mass spectroscopy;
  • Monte Carlo method;
  • uncertainty;
  • variability