Statistics for Environmental Engineers

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No claim to original U.S. Government works International Standard Book Number 1-56670-592-4 Printed in the United States of America 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Printed on acid-free paper

Preface to 1st Edition


When one is confronted with a new problem that involves the collection and analysis of data, two crucial questions are: How will using statistics help solve this problem? And, Which techniques should be used? This book is intended to help environmental engineers answer these questions in order to better understand and design systems for environmental protection.


The book is not about the environmental systems, except incidentally. It is about how to extract information from data and how informative data are generated in the first place. A selection of practical statistical methods is applied to the kinds of problems that we encountered in our work. We have not tried to discuss every statistical method that is useful for studying environmental data. To do so would mean including virtually all statistical methods, an obvious impossibility. Likewise, it is impossible to mention every environmental problem that can or should be investigated by statistical methods. Each reader, therefore, will find gaps in our coverage; when this happens, we hope that other authors have filled the gap. Indeed, some topics have been omitted precisely because we know they are discussed in other well-known books.


It is important to encourage engineers to see statistics as a professional tool used in familiar examples that are similar to those faced in one’s own work. For most of the examples in this book, the environmental engineer will have a good idea how the test specimens were collected and how the measurements were made. The data thus have a special relevance and reality that should make it easier to understand special features of the data and the potential problems associated with the data analysis.

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