What is Contaminated Soil?

Contaminated soil is soil infused with a chemical substance that is not good for the environment and not good for the growth of plants and vegetation. Oftentimes, it is an accident to spill the substance into the soil. Other times, it is an effect of using pesticides or other substances used to kill weeds. Unfortunately, people who live near contaminated soil suffer dire consequences. Read on to learn more. 

What is considered contaminated soil? Any soil that is tested and comes up with harmful chemicals or substances inside is considered contaminated. But that doesn’t mean the soil is worthless. You can look into soil remediation services to clear out the toxicities from the soil and make it clean again. 

If the soil contamination has something to do with an oil spill, then environmental cleanup services are required. An oil spill can spread quickly, hurting plants and animals, seeping into the groundwater used for irrigation, and showing up on surface waters in oceans and lakes. 

While we look at what is considered contaminated soil in the United States, we can start with the causes of soil contamination and how it can be prevented. 

Causes of Soil Contamination

The causes of soil contamination come from hydrocarbons PAHS, which are a class of chemicals found in crude oils and gasoline. These hazardous wastes seep into the natural soil and cause contamination that doesn’t just flush out with the rain. Therefore, soil remediation is required to make the soil uncontaminated and clean. 


What is considered contaminated soil? Pesticides used for growing crops are considered a contaminant to the soil. This is because large amounts of pesticides seep into the soil and make it contaminated. In many countries, the use of pesticides is highly regulated. 

Pesticides are used to deter pests from ruining the crops while growing. While the pesticides keep the bugs away, they also create toxicity to the soil in large amounts. It is vital to limit pesticides so that the soil can be used to grow more crops. 


Herbicides are also used to aid in the growth of crops and keep weeds from destroying the growth of vegetation. Again, the amount of herbicides used is vital to keep under control. What is considered contaminated soil? Large amounts of herbicides will lead to contaminated soil. 

Improper Disposal of Waste

Another way that soil can get contaminated is when hazardous materials are poured into the soil by mistake or illegally. The contaminated sites cause detrimental effects to the environment and the people who live nearby. 

It is important to look out for signs of improper disposal and report it if you see any illegal activity surrounding the disposal of oil or gasoline. If you have oil you need to discard, you can take it to any mechanic shop or recycling center, and they will take it for you. Oil should never go out in the garbage can, even if it is in an airtight container. 

Health Effects

The problem with hydrocarbons getting into the soil doesn’t only lie with plant growth. Here are other ways improper disposal and contaminated soil are a risk to human health: 

  • Contaminated Drinking Water: An oil spill can get into the pipes and come out in the drinking water. If your drinking water has an oil sheen to it, do not drink it. Get it tested immediately to find out if your drinking water is dirty from polluted soil. 
  • Toxic Fumes: If hydrocarbons are in your soil, you may be breathing in toxic fumes inside the house—oil and gas and strong contaminants that let off a poisonous gas as well. Be aware of these smells, and do not ignore the fragrance of oil or gas inside your home. Instead, investigate and find out what is causing the problem. What is considered contaminated soil? You may find out that your soil is contaminated by tracing the cause of a toxic smell. 

Health problems can occur when humans ingest or breathe in chemicals like oil or gasoline. In addition, when the spill is in the soil, it is likely to seep into a place where humans will be affected by the contaminated lands. What is considered contaminated soil? Any soil that is infused with industrial wastes is deemed to be contaminated and a threat to human health. 

Ecosystem Effects

Clean soil is essential for keeping a healthy and robust ecosystem. The last thing we want is the spread of contaminated soil, leading to health problems and dirty water, plants, and food sources. 

  • Contaminated Ground Water: As the oil leak spreads through the soil, it can seep down into the groundwater. This water is used for irrigation and should not be poisoned by oil. However, contaminated groundwater could spread the contaminant around the community. 
  • Spread of Contaminated Soil: If the oil spill is on your property, it’s important to take care of it right away. Oil spreads through the soil and can go into to your neighbor’s property and be a cause for litigation. 
  • Damage to Animals: Contaminated soil also has an effect on animals in the surrounding areas. They also rely on clean water and healthy vegetation to live and thrive. Animals that live in water that is contaminated by oil are covered in the sticky substance and get sick and die. 

Contaminated soil has significant effects on the ecosystem. When you learn of industrial activity that leads to soil contamination, you must take quick action to remediate the problem. No matter the type of contamination, clean soil is vital to our ecosystem. 

You can do your part by reporting any suspicious activity surrounding hydrocarbon disposal. Also, be sure not to drop your oil into the trash can and hope no one notices. This has severe consequences and can result in fines and punishment. If you don’t know where to dispose of your oil, contact your local recycling center to find the proper place to dispose of hazardous materials. 

Soil Remediation Solutions in NJ

At Mikula Contracting, we can work with our trusted environmental firms to identify what is considered contaminated soil and help you resolve the issue. Our services include test pit excavation and our environment firm partners excel at soil remediation. Let our team help you with your soil remediation project today. 

Our family-owned business has been serving members of the New Jersey community for over 75 years now. The combined experience in our team amounts to more than 200 years. We have seen it all and learned from our experiences. You will get the best in quality of work and customer service when you choose Mikula Contracting. 

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