A Guide to Soil Sampling Methods

There are different soil sampling tests that The Soil Lab carries out for various purposes: to determine water content to plan construction or agricultural projects, to correctly classify waste so it can be disposed of lawfully and to identify potentially harmful substances such as asbestos and coal tar.

Here we have a guide to the different soil sample tests.

Asbestos ID & Quantification

Asbestos may be present in soil from previous house demolitions or previously contaminated land. 

To eliminate the risk this poses, an Asbestos ID soil test can be conducted either by someone on the site or by one of our engineers.

An Asbestos Quantification test will then measure a percentage of the soil sample to provide an asbestos quantity. 

Once asbestos has been identified and measured, appropriate actions can be taken to dispose of it.

Find out more about Asbestos ID and Asbestos Quantification >

POPs test

A POPs test identifies Persistent Organic Pollutants in soil. These are commonly found in insecticides. 

If found at concentrations of 50mg/kg or below, this is hazardous waste.

This test can be carried out by a site contact or you can arrange for a Soil Lab engineer to visit the site. 

Find out more about POPs test>

Coal Tar Test

Coal tar contains hydrocarbons, which are known carcinogens – they can be harmful to humans. 

Coal tar was previously used in the building sector, such as in roof and road materials. 

A coal tar test can be ordered online and carried out by someone from your site or we can arrange a site visit for one of our engineers. 

Find out more about coal tar test>

WAC Test

Testing Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) is to determine how waste will react once it’s sent to landfill. This will help you to classify whether to send waste to inert, hazardous or non-hazardous landfill sites.

You can carry out this soil sample test yourself, or we can arrange a site visit from one of our engineers. The sample will then be sent off for analysis at our laboratory. 

The laboratory tests analyse key contaminants as well as the leachate test, which identifies the potential leakage from the sample once in landfill.

Find out more about WAC test>

Soil Water Content Test

The soil water analysis test will help you to plan for agricultural purposes, flood control, drought and erosion prevention.

Collect a sample of soil from the site and send it off to our laboratory for analysis. Alternatively, one of our engineers can conduct the sample.

Find out more about soil water analysis>

Waste Soil Classification

Correctly classify and lawfully dispose of waste soil by conducting a waste soil classification test.

It is law that suspected contaminated land has to have a waste soil classification test. Avoid penalties and correctly dispose of waste with this test. 

The soil sample can be collected by a site representative and sent to our laboratory for analysis. Or a Soil Lab engineer can be booked for a site visit.

Find out more about Waste Soil Classification>

Topsoil Certification

Comply with British standard BS3882, which sets out how topsoil should be stored, handled, sampled and prepared. 

Topsoil certification sets out two grades: multipurpose and specific purpose. While multipurpose is suitable for most gardening projects, specific purpose requires professional advice and is unsuitable for gardening. 

Carry out a soil sample test and send it to our lab for professional testing. Alternatively, we can mobilise an engineer to site to carry out the test. 

Find out more about Topsoil Certification>

All of our soil sample kits can be ordered online. Select the test you require on the contact form.


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