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Question: Anyone have experience with diy soil testing methods for contaminants- Colorimetry, spectometry, reagents, etc?

DanielleS is asking a question about general: Follow this topic

by DanielleS | February 11, 2019 19:30 | #18343

I'm looking into options for soil testing that are more accessible but also reliable, and am curious about what folks out there have been using to test soils for heavy metals, PAH's, and other oil and gas related contaminants. Have you used colorimeters, spectometers, reagants or something else to characterize these in soils? Do you know of any extension offices, agencies or makers spaces offering cheap soil contaminant testing? Which guidelines do you use to compare your soil test results to in terms of contaminant limits?

I'll be at the Barnraising in Houston and hoping we can get together to explore soil testing options- what can we further develop to be more usable and give us better results? If you have experience with soil testing for contaminants, please be in touch and lets work on this together!


You have to be careful on how different methods work. The answers can vary dramatically from method to method. For example, if atomic absorption(AA) for lead is used with a straight HCl digestion of something like clay soil, the results could be different from if a stronger acid ( usually something like HF) is used. This is because lead is could be tied up in the "matrix".

And if you try and compare this to something like an XRF method, the results could also could be different. There are all kinds of effects on XRF that can change the calculations. This before we talk about the concentration differences that would be seen with the soluble in insoluble lead matrix mentioned above.

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