Soil Contamination Causes and Solutions
Soil contamination most often occurs when xenobiotic chemicals, or human-made chemicals, spill or leak into the ground. Industrial activity, agricultural chemicals, and improper waste disposal are the most common causes of soil pollution and contamination.
9 Most Common Causes of Soil Contamination
- Mining: commonly leads to high concentration of toxic chemicals like arsenic, sulfuric acid, and mercury.
- Accidental spills: most commonly oil and petroleum spills can have severe effects on vegetation and wildlife in the area.
- Corrosion of underground storage tanks and piping: old storage tanks and worn down piping can break and leak toxic waste into the soil.
- Acid Rain: commonly contains air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen oxides that dissolve into the soil leading to increased health and environmental impacts.
- Agricultural chemicals such as pesticides: previous and current farmland is always at high risk of being contaminated by the fertilizers and pesticides used by the agricultural industry.
- Petrochemicals including oil and gasoline: contamination commonly occurs near gas stations, drilling locations, and land near train stations that transport oil tank cars.
- Drainage of contaminated surface water into the soil: properties near bodies of water or rivers are at higher risk for contaminants seeping into the soil via the surface water.
- Ammunition, chemical agents of war: common contaminants for firing ranges and previous military operation bases. Ammunition contains lead, which leads to lead poisoning and water contamination.
- Improper waste disposal: includes gasoline, oil, nuclear waste, sewage, landfills, coal & electronic waste. Properties near water treatment facilities and power plants are at high risk for contamination and should be evaluated by an environmental consulting firm.