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How to sample your soil

Ecology or the Environmental Protection Agency may have already sampled your soil for arsenic and lead. Or, you might qualify for free soil sampling. If not, we provide instructions on how to sample your property's soil for arsenic and lead.

If you live in King, Pierce, Thurston, or Snohomish counties you might qualify for free soil sampling. Or your soil may have already been sampled through our Everett or Tacoma Smelter Plume programs. Search our interactive map to find out.

If you live in Stevens County, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have sampled your soil or you may qualify for free soil sampling. Contact Laura Buelow, EPA project manager, or visit our upper Columbia River Lake Roosevelt site for more information.

If you are not eligible for soil sampling, or want to sample your own soil, read on

Soil sampling is not difficult, and the tools you need can be found around the home. Depending on the number of samples, an average residential property should cost $80-$300 (prices checked in 2017).

This is a brief summary — for more detailed information, please download our Soil Sampling Guidance

Illustration of a yard and a suggested soil sampling plan

Example plan of where to sample the soil in your yard. It is good to sample areas where kids play and any other locations they could be exposed to dirt.

Steps to sample your own soil for arsenic and lead

  1. Pick a LabSearch to find a certified lab — Select by Analyte: Aresnic.
  2. Plan — Use our guide to decide how many samples you need and where to take them.
  3. Collect — Take soil samples and don’t forget to always follow healthy actions.
  4. Analyze — Send or take your soil samples to the lab.
  5. Compare — See if your arsenic and lead levels could cause health risks. Follow our healthy actions to prevent health risks.
Graphic showing testing results levels. If arsenic  is 20-100 ppm or lead is 250-500 we recommend healthy actions. If it is greater than that please contact Ecology.

Compare your soil sampling results to this chart.