Testing for lead in soil

The soil in Minneapolis typically has high concentrations of lead due to the use of leaded gasoline before 1979.

Procedures for soil sampling

Collect one soil sample near the foundation of your house; placing it in a clean zip lock baggie. The sample size should be about 5 tablespoons from the top half inch of bare soil as this is the soil that is most accessible to children.

Collect a second sample from the yard; placing it in a separate zip lock baggie. Label the baggies "foundation," "yard," or "garden" when submitting them for analysis.

Sample analysis

Samples will be analyzed using an x-ray fluorescence machine (XRF). Soil with over 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead is considered a hazard to children and should be covered with an appropriate material such as grass, rock, wood chips, concrete, etc. The results of the soil sampling will be accurate to plus or minus 50 ppm.

Sample results

You can generally expect to receive your sample results within two weeks. This analysis is a free service provided by the City of Minneapolis. Private environmental laboratories can provide a more accurate soil result for a small fee.

Mailing your samples

Please mail your soil samples to:

City of Minneapolis
Health Department - Lead Hazard Control
Attention: Alex Vollmer
505 S. 4th Ave., Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415


To learn about Urban Gardens and Soil Contaminants check out Urban Gardens and Soil Contaminants 

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Contact us

Minneapolis Health Department




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415