The Agricultural and Environmental Testing Lab at the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science is assisting commercial farmers in Vermont with assessment of post-flood soil conditions in their fields. Upon request, they will expedite the turn-around time on tests for both routine soil fertility and heavy metals, with results available in a matter of days. They offer heavy metals screening as an add-on to the routine fertility test as well as a heavy metals test similar to what an environmental lab would run. Choose the latter if your only concern is possible metal contamination. The heavy metal screening that accompanies the fertility test will inform you as whether or not a metals problem exists (the environmental test will give more precise concentrations).
Both tests are now being offered until October 15, 2011 at no charge to commercial Vermont farms for flooded fields only; please note on the soil questionnaire submitted with the sample that the soil is from a flooded field. The form is available at http://pss.uvm.edu/ag_testing or call 802-656-3030.
For non-flooded fields and home garden plots, please refer to the website for regular turn-around times and price information for soil testing and other analyses.
In addition, UVM's Vern Grubinger and Don Ross have just released an information sheet called, "Intrepreting the Results of Soil Tests for Heavy Metals" -- it can be found at: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/interpreting_heavy_metals_soil_tests.pdf