Ground soil can be a lead land mine without facility managers and building occupants knowing it. When the ground is opened up for whatever reason, say, for a new construction project, or a landscaping activity, or from a break or crack in the ground due to heavy load and traffic, the ground soil may release long-embedded lead into the air. When lead has been released from the soil, it will eventually find its way into footwear and clothing and result to lead contamination.
Although lead abatement testing activities can sometimes exclude sampling the soil because it is not required for compliance to Hazardous Waste regulations, any disturbed bare soil has to be sampled. This is often the case with building construction projects that remove the soil off the ground during project preparations. Soil underneath existing concrete floorings is also excluded from lead abatement testing.
Why is there lead in soil? Thanks to the law of gravity, the ground is the ultimate destination of falling particles in the environment. Lead fallout from car exhausts, manufacturing and industrial plants, and peeling lead-based paint are the major sources of lead particulates in soil. Years of fallout may be stored in soil. Soil near busy roads and factory plants therefore has a higher probability of lead contamination.
In lead abatement testing activities, soil samples are often obtained using a coring or scooping method. The aim is to collect soil half-an-inch from the top. The sample can be composited before chemical analysis is done in a certified lead abatement soil sampling and testing laboratory.