Soil Test for heavy metals?
April 19, 2016 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Hey cuties! I'm looking for a home soil test for figuring out whether I have high heavy metal concentrations in my yard (and therefore whether I can plant veggies right into the earth vs having to build raised beds). I'd previously used DrGoodEarth dot com (an online send-away service), but that site seems to have expired/gone. I'm happy to either use a service where I send in samples (as I did for Dr Good Earth), OR to bring samples IRL to a local place around Louisville KY. I'm not as concerned with the clay/sand/loam/silt breakdown as I am with Is There Lead Or Something In Here. Okay, thanks!
posted by Greg Nog to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My Louisvillian friend used the Jefferson County Extension Service guidelines and services. They suspected lead in the soil so the Extension Service hooked them up with the University of Massachusetts soil testing lab. The site says it costs $55 for the metals test.

Happily, they didn't find lead and they have a really nice vegetable garden now! Good luck!
posted by cooker girl at 6:14 AM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

Fifteen bucks for the UMass test? At these prices, can I afford NOT to send dirt in the mail????!!!?!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

I've used the UMass testing several times and it's awesome. I strongly recommend them!
posted by lydhre at 6:28 AM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

yes, thirding the recommendation for UMass as another happy customer. Two things - note the turnaround right now will be a little slower than usual - since everyone's testing their soil! - and their tests that are not about heavy metals (soil acidity, etc) are calibrated to Western MA, so you should take the other results with a grain of salt as it may not be exactly right for your area. This should be fine for you since it's not what you want. The lead, etc, will be accurate and isn't affected by location.
posted by john_snow at 11:20 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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