Testing New York Soil

The New York area has a lot of brownstones with backs yards. What a lot of people don’t know is that those back yards are contaminated. As a New York soil remediation company we’ve become pretty obsessed with this. It is alarming how many yards come up high in heavy metals, especially lead.

Anything below 100ppm of lead in soil is considered safe by European standards. In NY it is anything below 400ppm. Seems like a big difference but the results we are seeing renders that difference irrelevant. The last job we did had 2,100ppm, more than five times the safe level in NY.

And this is common.

I first got into this a couple years ago when I tested the soil at the Eco Brooklyn green show house. The test came back with 3,500ppm.

I freaked.

I called up Dr. Cheng who runs the testing lab at Brooklyn College┬áto see if there had been an error and if not what city agency do I call! His response was very┬ánonchalant: “That number is pretty common,” he said.

And no he didn’t know of anyone who could help. This is the main guy in NY when it comes to this stuff.

Being a green contractor it wasn’t a stretch to educate myself and add soil remediation to the list of Eco Brooklyn’s services. It is such and important one.

100 years of lead from garbage incinerators, car fumes, and paint are the main culprits of soil contamination in NYC and it is amazing how many people are using back yards contaminated with it.

So test your yard! It is easy and cheap – $10-35, and Dr. Cheng just upgraded their technique so the test takes an hour. Just gather some soil and send it or bring it to the soil testing lab at Brooklyn College. They offer a great service.

My son exploring the lead free Eco Brooklyn green show house garden. It is designed to be a NY in the 1600's

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