Sampling instructions (for manure)

How to take representative samples from different matrices

Quick guide

When determining the chemical composition of any sample from natural waters, wastewater treatment or other organic biomass, the result is dependent on the quality of the sample. Taking a representative sample requires know-how of best practices which may vary between different matrices. In project Manure Standards, instructions for taking manure samples were made. The instructions are applicable also to other matrices whether they are liquid, sludge-like or solid. They can be used on any wastewater treatment plant or other facility processing e.g. sewage sludge.

If applicable, respective national standards and guidelines should be considered for water/wastewater.


The chemical composition of wastewater and sewage sludge is needed to be known to ensure sufficient wastewater purification and the quality of the sludge for further processing or end-use. The chemical composition is determined by chemical analyses from samples taken from these matrices. Purified wastewater fractions may be very dilute e.g. for their nutrient content, while raw wastewater may contain much higher nutrient concentrations. The matrices also contain different amounts of solids affecting their homogeneity. The more heterogeneous the matrix is, the more important it is that proper sampling methods are used to ensure a representative sample. The quality of the sample has major effect on the reliability of the result from chemical analysis. The sampling instructions explain the principles behind sampling different types of materials and provide practical guidance to taking representative samples.

Instruction video: Manure sampling for nutrient content analysis

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