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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    2

    Default testing for industrial pollution: is soil poison or ok?

    I have a small back yard on what used to be a historically heavily industrialized area. So I expect the soil to be full of PCBs and what-not. On the other hand, I know the previous owners had luck growing (and failed to die from eating) their own vegetables here. I'd like to plant a small garden, but am worried about bad (ie polluted) soil. How should I go about testing the various parts of the yard to find out where they may have brought in new soil, and where there's 100s of years of engine oil lurking?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: testing for industrial pollution: is soil poison or ok?

    Since you suspect your backyard is contaminated, I would contact a local environmental laboratory about having it analyzed. You can collect either separate samples from different points in your yard or a composite sample where you mix soil together from different parts of the yard. I would collect soil from 6 inches below the surface or a foot or more if you think clean fill was placed on the property. I would have the soil tested for volatile organic compounds, semi volatile organic compounds, metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides/ PCBs. The lab can supply you with glass jars for your samples. They will also give you a cost to run the analyses.

    After you get the results, contact your local health department. They can give you an idea about whether it is a good idea to plant a vegetable garden or if you have significant contamination. Best of luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,162

    Default Re: testing for industrial pollution: is soil poison or ok?

    You should be able to get a test kit from your county extension office. They will then analyze the sample(s) for free or low cost.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: testing for industrial pollution: is soil poison or ok?

    Great advice. thanks!

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