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 a 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. PFAS chemical contamination is a rising concern in Wisconsin due to improper waste disposal at landfills.