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TMcE Dec 06, 2018 01:00 PM
Hi, I am interested to know if there are Standard Operating Procedures for the analysis of soil, similar to those found for water in "Standard Methods for the analysis of Water and Wastewater". what would be the minimum parameters for various soil types, e.g. Agricultural (tillage/dairy/other stock), Urban, Forestry, Bog/Peatlands etc.
Replies (5)
EEA Dec 17, 2018 11:54 AM
Hello,

Thank you for your interest in the European Environment Agency (EEA).

There are many Standard Operating Procedures for soil, which you may access via this link: http://www.fao.org/3/a-bs756e.pdf (see specifically Annex I (pg. 39-42) for an overview of the reference literature and ISO standards).

A very successful compilation for Europe forest soil analytics have been produced by the ICP Forests Soil Expert Panel. The reference can be found on page 39 of the link provided above.

You are enquiring for procedures adapted to soil types and land uses, and you refer to different systems such as under agricultural soils and urban soils. This question would require more research.

We thus recommend that you take a look at the reference literature provided via the link. Feel free to get back to us with any further questions. However, we advise you to be specific and detailed as possible with your questions, so our experts can help you in the best possible way.

We hope this information may be useful to you.

Kind regards,
EEA Enquiry Service
TMcE Jan 29, 2019 11:37 AM
Thank you for your reply. The link to reference literature and ISO standards is extremely useful. I am doing a final year project on soil analysis for 3rd level, and what I have found is that there are many different SOPs for soil, but no consensus on a European level as to a single standard for soil types, whether they are agricultural, forestry or urban. The European water framework directive sets out in very clear terms all the parameters that must be reached for minimum standards for drinking water, river water etc. Nutrient levels in agricultural soils have been well documented, however, as regards soil contamination there seems to be a certain level of ambiguity as regards what criteria is allowed, for example, heavy metal contamination in soils, I have found acceptable lead parameters ranging from the Dutch target value of 85 mg/kg to a massive 1000 mg/kg limit on soils near a former mining area in Ireland. I understand that there was a lot of work towards generating a Soil Framework Directive but that this was scrapped in 2014. Can you help me to understand why this wasn't developed further?

Many thanks,
EEA Jun 25, 2019 10:04 AM
Dear M. 'TMcE',

Please accept our apologies for the late reply to your questions and thank you for your request concerning soil analysis in Europe.

Regarding SOPs, we recommend you to follow ISO TC 190 Soil Quality. The current existing standards are listed in the following publication: http://www.fao.org/3/a-bs756e.pdf - see Annex 1.

SOPs specific to different kinds of soils exist to some degree:
- For forest soils, please see https://www.icp-forests.org/[…]/ICP_Manual_2016_01_part10.pdf.
- For agricultural soils, we advise to explore networks of agricultural analytical and research institutions, such as the German Association. Please visit https://www.vdlufa.eu/index.php/fachgruppen-40/fg-ii
 
Regarding soil contamination, there is no harmonized approach in Europe as to evaluate soils. Many countries have their own thresholds in place (e.g. background values, screening values see https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/[…]/EUR29124.pdf; for background values see http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/[…]/FANGHI_JRC_3.pdf, for screening values see https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/[…]/EUR22805.pdf).

Regarding specific parameters such as lead, several countries are currently deepen their understanding and evaluation procedures. We are currently not aware of any recent publications.

We hope that the attached links will help you further.

With kind regards,
EEA Enquiry Service
Ahsan Jun 25, 2019 07:57 PM
hank you for your reply. The link to reference literature and ISO standards is extremely useful. I am doing a final year project on soil analysis for 3rd level, and what I have found is that there are many different SOPs for soil, but no consensus on a European level as to a single standard for soil types, whether they are agricultural, forestry or urban. The European water framework directive sets out in very clear terms all the parameters that must be reached for minimum standards for drinking water, river water etc and hank you for your reply. The link to reference literature and ISO standards is extremely useful. I am doing a final year project on soil analysis for 3rd level, and what I have found is that there are many different SOPs for soil, but no consensus on a European level as to a single standard for soil types, whether they are agricultural, forestry or urban. The European water framework directive sets out in very clear terms all the parameters that must be reached for minimum standards for drinking water, river water etc. Nutrient levels in agricultural soils have been well documented, however, as regards soil contamination there seems to be a certain level of ambiguity as regards what criteria is allowed, for example, heavy metal contamination in soils, I have found acceptable lead parameters ranging from the Dutch target value of 85 mg/kg to a massive 1000 mg/kg limit on soils near a former mining area in Ireland. I understand that there was a lot of work towards generating a Soil Framework Directive but that this was scrapped in 2014. Can you help me to understand why this wasn't developed further? . Nutrient levels in agricultural soils have been well documented, however, as regards soil contamination there seems to be a certain level of ambiguity as regards what criteria is allowed, for example, heavy metal contamination in soils, I have found acceptable lead parameters ranging from the Dutch target value of 85 mg/kg to a massive 1000 mg/kg limit on soils near a former mining area in Ireland. I understand that there was a lot of work towards generating a Soil Framework Directive but that this was scrapped in 2014. Can you help me to understand why this wasn't developed further?
Ahsan Jun 25, 2019 07:57 PM
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