Soil Screening

Title: 2023 Urban Soil Screening Impact
Grant Award: $28,590
Location: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Program: Urban Soils Program
ACCD’s Urban Soils Program engages with citizens and community partners to improve their knowledge and the soils in farm, garden, and greenspace projects. While often overlooked in urban environments, soil plays a central role in the functioning of healthy towns and cities. The Urban Soils Program focuses on lead and contaminant research, soil screening outreach, and grower technical assistance. 

Year in Review

In 2023, ACCD hosted four successful soil lead screening events, and approximately 150 Allegheny County residents participated. Soil samples were analyzed for lead, and staff engaged with backyard gardeners about soil contaminants.  

In addition to soil screening events, ACCD staff completed 11 site visits to local urban farms, community gardens, and green space projects, including numerous Adopt-A-Lot sites, to educate on the importance of soil health, demonstrate sample techniques and safety guidelines, screen soil samples for lead, map site data, and, finally, provide technical assistance to improve site conditions. A primary focus was reducing the risk of exposure to soil lead.    

Since the beginning of the 2023 growing season, ACCD has screened 953 soil samples for lead using XRF analysis, an analytical technique that determines the elemental composition of materials. With soil lead testing from traditional laboratories costing an average of $30 or more, ACCD’s free soil screening service provided an estimated $28,590 worth of services to the Allegheny County community. 

Get Assistance

ACCD provides technical assistance to improve water and soil resources throughout the region.