Inventory and Statistical Characterization of Inorganic Soil Constituents in Illinois

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


This report presents a statistical analysis of the Regulated Substances Library (RSL) developed by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The RSL is comprised of surficial soil chemistry data obtained from rights-of-way subsurface soil sampling conducted for routine preliminary site investigations. The 3.7-million-record RSL database is compared with four independent studies of inorganic soil constituents of naturally occurring soils in Illinois. A selection of 22 inorganic soil analytes are examined in this study: Al, Sb, As, Ba, Be, Cd, Ca, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mg, Mn, Hg, Ni, K, Se, Na, Tl, V, and Zn. RSL database summary statistics, mean, median, minimum, maximum, 5th percentile, and 95th percentile, are determined for Illinois counties and for recognized environmental concern, non-recognized environmental concern, and de minimis site contamination classifications. The RSL database at a 95% confidence level is compared with current and proposed thresholds for defining naturally occurring soil concentrations for the selected analytes. The revised thresholds proposed by Cahill in 2017 are predominantly larger than the current standards found in the Tiered Approach to Corrective Action Objectives rules and are in better agreement with observed distributions of soil concentrations for both naturally occurring and RSL soils. A notable exception is antimony (Sb), for which Cahill proposed a reduced threshold similar in magnitude to the median for many Illinois Department of Transportation districts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Center for Transportation
Number of pages59
StatePublished - 2021

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