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.
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
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: www.prismlabs.com/soil
— Meritech Labs: www.meritechlabs.com
— ENCO Labs: www.encolabs.com
— Waters Agricultural Laboratories, Inc. (This lab only offers heavy metals testing): www.watersag.com
— Cornell University: https://soilhealth.cals.cornell.edu/testing-services/
Testing Services for Dioxins: Cape Fear Analytical – GEL: www.gel.com/cape-fear-analytical
Testing Services for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), excluding dioxins: Red Lab LLC: www.redlabllc.com
If you need help contacting labs, please contact superfundCEC@duke.edu for sample language