Construction Soil Testing: Common Contaminants to Consider

When building your new home, there are different aspects that you must evaluate before the official construction commences. One of these critical factors is the quality of the soil on which your home will be built. You should commission testing of the soil material to ensure that there are no harmful compounds or elements in the land. Basically, soil contamination occurs as a result of manmade activities such as improper hazardous waste disposal, the use of agricultural chemicals and even general industrial operations. The testing process is particularly crucial if you have acquired land that was formerly used for commercial, industrial or agricultural operations. Here are the common contaminants that you should inquire about during the soil testing process.


The metal lead occurs naturally in soil, but the quantities are normally negligible under normal circumstances. However, pollution in the local region can lead to an increase in the levels of this heavy metal. One of the main sources of this contaminant in soil is leaded paint which may have been carelessly disposed. In the past, lead was also incorporated into petrol as part of an anti-knock agent. Therefore, your land might be polluted if it is located in a commercial area. Lead arsenate was also used as an insecticide for fruit orchards, so this is a concern in former agricultural land. You should note that lead does not become bio-degraded over time; it persists in soil and can cause serious health issues if the soil is not remediated.


Mercury is an important element in the production of measuring equipment such as thermometers, float valves, manometers and barometers. The material has also been incorporated into fluorescent lamps and is used some medical preservatives. Mercury is a natural metal that occurs in geologic deposits, volcanos and other features. Therefore, the element can be found in land in small quantities in soil. Unfortunately, the mercury content can be higher in some areas due to industrial activities and dumping of laboratory waste. The metal acts as a neurotoxin and can cause brain development issues in children and general neurological problems in adults. Therefore, find out whether your land is at risk of this contamination.


Zinc is a common metal, so it is not often associated with toxicity and soil pollution. Moreover, this is an essential mineral in the growth of plants and development of human beings and other animals. However, when in excess, zinc will cause poisoning. You should especially commission this type of test if you plan to garden or keep some livestock.