This paper extends the work of Gilliom and Helsel (1986) on procedures for estimating descriptive statistics of water quality data that contain “less than” observations. Previously, procedures were evaluated when only one detection limit was present. Here we investigate the performance of estimators for data that have multiple detection limits. Probability plotting and maximum likelihood methods perform substantially better than simple substitution procedures now commonly in use. Therefore simple substitution procedures (e.g., substitution of the detection limit) should be avoided. Probability plotting methods are more robust than maximum likelihood methods to misspecification of the parent distribution and their use should be encouraged in the typical situation where the parent distribution is unknown. When utilized correctly, less than values frequently contain nearly as much information for estimating population moments and quantiles as would the same observations had the detection limit been below them.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Estimation of descriptive statistics for multiply censored water quality data|
|Series title||Water Resources Research|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|