Should I test Test My Soil for Contaminants?

Should you test your soil?

Our soil test decision tool can help garden managers identify possible sources of contaminants near the garden and recognize other risk factors associated with garden management practices. This information may help you decide whether to test your soil for specific contaminants and will direct you to more resources on how to test your soils and interpret the results.

coming soon

The following information may be helpful, but not required, to when using the tool:

Knowledge of current and past land uses near your garden site

What were the previous land uses at your site?
What are the land uses of the land next to or near your garden site?

Knowledge of garden policies, management practices and garden characteristics

Who uses the garden? Are children there frequently?
What is the pH of your garden soil?
What kinds of soil amendments (compost, fertilizers, etc) do you use and where do they come from?

Soil Testing Services

Did you know?
Soil nutrient testing—like the soil tests offered by Agricultural Extension services—does not test for soil contaminants like lead, arsenic, pesticide residues or other persistent chemicals.

Testing Services for Nutrients and pH: NC Department of Agriculture: Basic soil testing is offered for free to North Carolina residents for most of the year (a peak season fee of $4 is added for each sample submitted December 1- March 31). More information about testing can be found here. To find your local NC State Extension County agent, check here.

Testing Services for Heavy Metals and Organics

— Prism Laboratories:
— Meritech Labs:
— ENCO Labs:
— Waters Agricultural Laboratories, Inc. (This lab only offers heavy metals testing):
— Cornell University:

Testing Services for Dioxins: Cape Fear Analytical – GEL:

Testing Services for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), excluding dioxins: Red Lab LLC:

If you need help contacting labs, please contact for sample language