Soil Toxicity Testing 


Toxicity tests are often used as a component of biological monitoring programs, but their use is generally restricted to aquatic systems. To complement the bioaccumulation programs and develop a wider watershed evaluation approach, the BMAP has included soil toxicity testing at some sites. Several soil toxicity testing methods have been developed by the Environmental Sciences Division to meet sponsor needs for environmental monitoring and ecological risk assessments at contaminated sites.



The soil toxicity task involves the use of several methods. One such method uses survival, growth and reproduction of a common earthworm (Eisenia foetida; Figure 1) to characterize soil quality. We also devised multi-species tests to assess the biological quality of composted explosives-contaminated sediment, and used seed germination and Eisenia tests to characterize the quality of oily soil from a petroleum land-farming operation.


Soil test results are available for sites in :

Figure 1. Eisenia foetida B (compost worms), used for assessing soil quality by monitoring effects of soil contaminants on earthworm survival, growth and reproduction.

For more information regarding Soil Toxicity Testing, please contact Arthur J. Stewart.

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Last Modified: April 17, 2001