Posted August 7, 2012 by admin in Vacuum Truck Blog

Soil Test

Soils are classified as clay soils, sandy soils, or loamy soils. A soil test is the analysis of a soil. It is basically a sample to determine nutrient and contaminant content, composition and other characteristics. A properly and professionally done soil test can determine facts such as the grain size of the soil, the moisture content of the soil, plastic limit and shrinkage limit.

There are many different kinds of soil testing that can be done to determine the quality, density, and the usability of the soil. It all depends on the nature of  your project that is to be on this soil or ground. A construction company may need to get the soil test for a completely different reason than, let’s say a farmer. Some of the industries and people who may want to preform a soil test are composters, florist, homeowners, commercial growers, sod producers, athletic fields and agricultural companies.

When sewer companies and construction companies start their project they often preform a soil test because of the weight of the hydro excavators and vacuum trucks on the job site. The weight and permeability of the soil all come into play when figuring out the next step. Municipal companies and construction companies will most likely be interested in the liquid limit of the soil ans well as spcific gravity, that all relates to the job.

Soil test can be done at home, a DIY soil test kit, or they can be preformed at a lab. Some of the instruments and styles a lab may use to preform a correct soil test are: colorimeters, alpkem rapid flow analyzers, ICP’s ( Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometers), and other general lab equipment. When it comes to farming and agricultural industries the most common soil tests are soil pH, exchangeable potassium, estimated texture category, and lime requirement. Other soil tests made upon request are nitrate-nitrogen, organic matter, ammonium acetate extractant, and environmental lead.

Here are the few steps to a “do it yourself” soil test. After you decide what kind of soil it is you can do the “Percolation Test”. This test is done to determine if you have drainage problems in the soil. To do this test you have to first dig a hole six inches wide and one foot deep. Next, fill the hole with water and let it drain completely. Last, fill it with water again and keep track of how long it takes for the water to drain. If the time is more than 4 hours, you have poor drainage.

Antoher home test is the “Worm Test”. It is preformed by digging a hole one foot across and one foot deep. Next, place the soil on a tarp or cardboard adn shift through the soil with your hands, counting the earth worms as you go. If you have earthworms that usually means that you also have all of the beneficial bacteria and microbes that make for great, healthy soil. But, less than ten worms usually means the soil is too alkaline or too acidic.