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What is Environmental Testing? Purpose & Importance

Have you ever considered of what secrets might your property be hiding beneath the surface, or what’s even in the air you breathe? This is where environmental testing comes in.

Environmental testing services analyse various aspects of your property, from the soil beneath your feet to the air you breathe. While it might not be the most glamorous part of the home buying process, it can uncover potential health hazards and give you peace of mind (or the knowledge to take action) before you settle in.

So, what exactly can environmental testing reveal? Let’s take a journey from the ground up:

1. Soil Testing:

The foundation of your property deserves a check-up too. Soil testing can reveal a variety of issues, including:

  • Contamination: Past industrial activities or agricultural practices could have left behind residues of lead, arsenic, or other harmful chemicals.
  • Nutrient Levels: Understanding your soil’s nutrient composition can help you determine the best course of action for landscaping and gardening.
  • Drainage Issues: Soil testing can identify potential drainage problems that could lead to foundation issues or mold growth.
Common Tests:
  • Nutrient Analysis: Identifies essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • pH Testing: Measures soil acidity or alkalinity, crucial for plant growth. Certain plants thrive in specific pH ranges, so this test guides crop selection and soil treatment.
  • Contaminant Testing: Detects harmful substances like heavy metals (lead, mercury), pesticides, and hydrocarbons.

2. Water Testing:

Whether you rely on well water or municipal supply, ensuring its safety is crucial. Water testing analyses various parameters, including:

  • Bacterial Contamination: The presence of harmful bacteria like E.coli & Giardia can pose serious health risks.
  • Mineral Content: Hard water with high mineral content can damage pipes and appliances, while very soft water can have its own set of problems.
  • Chemical Contaminants: Testing can identify pollutants like nitrates, lead, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may have leached into your water supply.
Common Tests:
  • Microbiological Testing: Detects harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Ensuring water is free from pathogens which is crucial for safe drinking water.
  • Chemical Testing: Measures levels of chemicals like nitrates, phosphates, heavy metals, and pesticides. This helps in ensuring compliance with safety standards.
  • Physical Testing: Analyses parameters like turbidity, colour, and temperature. These factors affect water quality and usability for various purposes.

3. Air Quality Testing:

Indoor air pollution can be a significant health concern. Testing can detect:

  • Mold Spores: Mold growth can trigger respiratory problems and allergies.
  • Radon Gas: This naturally occurring radioactive gas can increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): These chemicals are often emitted from building materials, paints, and cleaning products and can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
Common Tests:
  • Particulate Matter (PM) Testing: Measures airborne particles like dust, pollen, and soot.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) testing: Detects chemicals released from paints, solvents, and cleaning products.
  • Gas Testing: Identifies gases such as carbon monoxide, radon, and nitrogen dioxide.

Benefits of Environmental Testing:

  • Knowing your property is free from harmful contaminants can alleviate potential health concerns, especially for families with young children or individuals with respiratory issues.
  • Test results can guide decisions about renovations, landscaping, or addressing potential health hazards.
  • A clean environmental report can add value to your property if you decide to sell in the future.


Environmental testing might not be at the top of your to-do list when buying a property, but it’s an investment in your health and well-being. By understanding the potential environmental hazards lurking beneath the surface (or in the air), you can make informed decisions about your property and create a safe and healthy environment for yourself and your loved ones.