Soil testing.

You and your garden soil could be even better acquainted.


We offer a free service to anyone in Aotearoa who is interested in knowing the concentration of lead and other metals in the soils around their house and garden. Please send us your samples, we will test them and send you a report about the metals in your soil.

About the Soilsafe Aotearoa free soil testing.

Do you ever wonder what metals are in your soil? The soil in your home is important for recreation, gardening, growing food and making your neighbourhood green. All soil contains many different metals (such as lead), as well as a variety of elements, minerals and nutrients. These occur naturally and are an important part of what makes our soil so valuable. By being a part of this project you can find out the levels of lead and other metals in your soil.

How to collect your soil samples.

Collecting your soil samples is easy. Check out the useful info below to get your samples collected, packed and sent in to us for testing. If you require any further assistance or have any questions please get in touch by clicking the button below. The picture below shows where around the house you should take samples.


Collect your samples.

Label a resealable bag for each sample location you wish to have tested. Ensure you write the location sampled and the date. Use a trowel or other tool to collect a cricket ball sized amount of soil at each location. Try to collect from the top 5-10 cm of soil. Bag up your soil samples by location and seal them up tight.

Please double-bag your samples.


Complete survey and consent form.

Come back to the web page and fill out your email address below. Write the unique identification number you receive in your confirmation email followed by the sample letter assigned to that site (A, B, C, D, or E). Your bag should be labelled as per the image to the left.

Click the link in your confirmation email to access and fill out the soil submission form before sending in your samples.


Pack and send your samples.

Place all of your soil samples carefully into a courier bag and address it to us at:

c/o Soilsafe Aotearoa, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin, 9054

Send it off to us and await your results! You can read more about receiving results below. If having your soil returned to you is important, we can arrange that for you.

Results from your soil test.

Within 8 weeks of sending us your soil we will email you a report showing some metal levels in your soil. We will also include links to helpful resources and the government guidelines for metals in soils to help you understand the levels in your garden. The results from your test help you understand your garden and help New Zealand by growing a picture of metals in soil around the country. The generalised results of this study can be seen on a map here: Map My Environment and selecting “Soil” as the sample type. Keep checking back as this picture grows more detailed all the time.


Submitting your soil samples.

Thank you for choosing to take part in the Soilsafe Aotearoa soil testing project. Please enter your email below and we will send you your unique soil sample ID to include with all of your samples. You will also receive a link to the soil submission form you will need to fill our before sending in your soil samples. Click the button below to view the information sheet and consent requirements (you will have the chance to read and agree to the consent conditions in the soil submission form).

We will not use your email address to send you anything other than your sample ID confirmation link at this stage of the submission process.

Soil Testing Email Confirmation

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Frequently asked questions.

Q: How much soil do I need to send?

A: An ideal sample size (per sample) would be approximately the size of a cricket ball. This will easily fit in a zip-lock bag. If you have small zip-lock bags the sample should take up approximately half of the bag. 

Q: What is the turnaround time for Soilsafe Aotearoa soil testing?

A: We strive to provide a fast turnaround time (8 weeks) for our participants.

Q: Where do I send my soil samples to?

You can send your samples to GNS Science: c/o Soilsafe Aotearoa, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin 9054

Q: What is the dripline sample? 

A: The dripline is any point where water from your roof meets the soil. This can be a useful area to test as it represents the accumulation of lead and other metals over a large, flat area (your roof).

Q: Are my results normal? 

A: Check out our global map at Map My Environment. This mapping tool allows you to zoom to your area and compare soil and dust trace element concentrations. The data you see is from Soilsafe Aotearoa, VegeSafe Australia, and DustSafe (with points double-jittered to protect participant privacy). If there isn’t any data in your area, then be the first and send us a sample! 

Q: I live nearby, can I drop off my samples? 

A: Due to the current COVID-19 situation we ask that all participants mail their samples to us. We apologise for any inconvenience. 

Q: How do I get my results?

A: The results of your soil test will be emailed to you. Keep an eye on your junk inbox as sometimes the email can be found there. If it has been 8 weeks and you have not received an email, please contact us here.