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New Britain residents can get lawns tested for lead

You can feel when soil is ready for planting
Marco VDM/Getty Images
A farmer checks soil on his farm.

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold free lead screening of soil at the New Britain Museum of American Art April 21. Residents can bring in a bag of soil from their lawn to be tested for elevated levels of lead.

If a lawn does have high lead contamination, residents can take various actions to avoid digging in the dirt – things like mulching, installing vegetative barriers and using container gardens, according to Jessica Dominguez, an EPA land revitalization coordinator.

“Sometimes the reality is you’re living in a very dense urban area,” she said. “Your particular property isn’t appropriate for in-ground agriculture, but you can still do it on your patio.”

The test requires one to two cups of soil, but it should be taken from several spots across a yard.

The event will be held from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the museum at 56 Lexington St.

How to collect a soil sample:

Step 1: Identify an area where you want to collect a soil sample.

Step 2: For a large area, collect soil from 5 to 10 random spots in that area; combine the soil in a clean container. For a small area, collect soil from three random spots and combine in a clean container. For a garden area, collect all soil from the surface down to at least 6 inches deep. For a play area, collect all soil from the surface down to at least 1 inch deep.

Step 3: Mix soil well in a clean container.

Step 4: Remove pebbles, rocks and roots. Then air dry.

Step 5: Transfer one to two cups of the mixed soil into a clean one-quart clear plastic bag.

Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Jennifer Ahrens is a producer for Morning Edition. After spending 20+ years producing TV shows for CNN and ESPN, she decided to tackle a new medium because she values Public Broadcasting's mission. She wants to educate and entertain an audience and Connecticut Public lets her do that.
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