Stand soil test indicate contamination?

Asked July 23, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT

Hi there! I was curious if the standard soil test would pick/indicate any contamination in the soil? Trace chemicals? Hazardous chemicals/compounds? Toxicity? Things of that nature. If not--what soil test would you recommend to use to ensure that I know my soil is safe for growing.

Hamilton County Ohio

1 Response

Happy Summer!

Soil testing is a great idea, but I believe that the standard soil tests will yield information only about soil fertility. From what I have been reading, however, you can contact a lab and discuss your concerns to see if that lab will test for other contaminants. I expect you are wondering if heavy metals are present in your soil at levels that could be a problem for growing vegetables. Simply ask if the lab you choose will test for those, or whatever you might be worried about.

This is our fact sheet talking about Soil Testing: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/pdf/1132.pdf At the end of the fact sheet is a listing of labs, but the information is 6 years old, so be sure to call any of them first.

You also could contact your local Hamilton County Extension office to find out if they know of a nearby lab. This is its contact information:

5093 Colerain Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223
PH: 513-946-8989
FAX: 513-772-6126
Staff Directory

The University of Illinois offers an information sheet on urban soil contamination published by the USDA that states the acceptable levels of heavy metals in the soil: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/downloads/24258.pdf

Best of luck with your project.