Soil samples are taken by pushing a small tube in the ground. Samples are labeled, and then sent to the lab for processing. Photos courtesy of Walt Burdsall, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
Interested in soil sampling? Check our interactive map first
Your yard may have already been sampled. Many yards in the Environmental Protection Agency study area and the Yard Program service area were already sampled. If your home is in one of those areas, go to our interactive map to find sampling data and information on soil replacement.
The Yard Program sampling and cleanup program
The Yard Program provides free soil sampling and cleanup for residential yards in the most contaminated areas of the Tacoma Smelter Plume. If your property is in the Yard Program service area, it is possible that your property has already been sampled. To find out if there is existing soil sampling data for your property go to our public database, Dirt Alert.
If your property is within the Yard Program service area and we do not have existing soil sampling data for your property, please sign up for soil sampling using our access agreement. We do not offer soil sampling inside the study area.
Home soil testing program (outside of the Yard Program)
This outreach program is for homes outside of the Yard Program service area, but still in an area likely to have contamination. We sample areas in you are most concerned about — gardens, child play-areas and places where dogs run. Sampling is for educational purposes only, and will not qualify your property for cleanup.
Pierce County residents
Search for your property on the Dirt Alert map. If a message appears asking if you're interested in soil sampling through the Home Soil Testing Program, please fill out a sampling access form and email it to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at Dirt Alert@tpchd.org. Questions? Call Glenn Rollins at 253-798-3503.
King County residents
Please fill out a sampling access form and email it to Public Health-Seattle & King County at email@example.com. Questions? Call Denise Sharify at 206-477-DIRT.
Take your own soil samples
Outside of both the home soil testing and Yard Program service areas?
- Take your own samples using our soil sampling guidance.
- You can take your own soil samples if you live outside of the Yard Program and home soil testing program areas. Ecology’s soil sampling brochures explain how you can take soil samples using tools found around the home. Samples cost around $30-40 to analyze at a certified lab, for both arsenic and lead.
If you are building a home or developing a property
We recommend sampling soils before beginning your project. For more information, please visit the technical assistance webpage or contact Eva Barber at 360-407-7094 or Eva.Barber@ecy.wa.gov.