Due to an increased demand from customers NCA has recently started to carry out topsoil testing to
BS 3882:2007.

BS 3882:2007 replaces the previously issued 1994 document which is now withdrawn. It is important for customers to check that testing is being carried out in accordance with the “new standard” as we found that the old standard was still being used; there are some significant method changes in the 2007 edition.

NCA are one of the few laboratories with expertise in physical/construction testing and environmental chemical testing and so are well placed to offer this service.

BS 3882 classifies topsoil into 2 different types: multi-purpose and specific purpose with specific purpose further split into acidic, low fertility and calcareous grades.

Testing is carried out to obtain the clay, silt, sand and stone contents. All grades need some clay, at least 5% but not too much, 30 to 85% sand and not too many coarse particles.

Soil organic matter is assessed and for all grades there should be some organic matter but again not too much, pH should be relatively neutral for the multipurpose grade.

Plant nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium levels have ranges to be checked. All grades except for the low fertility grade have minimum levels.

Phytotoxic (toxic to plants) contaminants need to be below specific levels, Zinc, Copper and Nickel are listed in BS 3882.

The topsoil also should be virtually free from visible contaminants such as, plastic, glass and metal and contain no hazardous sharps. In addition to the above there are a few other items to be checked and more importantly chemical contaminants that are hazardous to human health and the environment.

Ideally a geo-environmental consultant, such as NCG, should be contacted to give guidance of which contaminants are appropriate but a list may be compiled based on the history of the source and its intended use.

For further details and costs please contact James Gane or Luigi Sorrentino on 0116 253 6333, or or contact us online.