365 Coral Circle El Segundo, CA 90245

Suitable Import, Borrow Topsoil

Soil Chemical and Physical Criteria for Reuse, Import or Reclamation

Suitable Import, Borrow Topsoil or Reclaimed soil

General – Topsoil shall be free of roots, clods, stones larger than 1-inch in the greatest dimension, pockets of coarse sand, noxious weeds, sticks, lumber, brush and other litter. It shall not be infested with nematodes or other undesirable disease-causing organisms such as insects and plant pathogens.

Gradation limits – soil shall be a sandy loam, loam, or clay loam. The definition of soil texture shall be the USDA classification scheme. Gravel over ¼-inch in diameter shall be less than 20% by weight.

Permeability Rate – Hydraulic conductivity rate shall be not less than one inch per hour nor more than 20 inches per hour when tested in accordance with the USDA Handbook Number 60, method 34b or other approved methods.

Fertility – The range of the essential elemental concentration in soil shall be as follows:

Ammonium Bicarbonate/DTPA Extraction
parts per million (mg/kilogram)
dry weight basis
phosphorus 2 – 40
potassium 40 – 220
iron 2 – 35
manganese 0.3 – 6
zinc 0.6 – 8
copper 0.1 – 5
boron 0.2 – 1
magnesium 50 – 150
sodium 0 – 100
sulfur 25 – 500
molybdenum 0.1 – 2

Soil may need to be amended and conditioned to optimize plant growth. The above listed fertility is for soil selection.

Concentration of nutrients for final acceptance

Ammonium Bicarbonate/DTPA Extraction
parts per million (mg/kilogram)
dry weight basis
phosphorus 10 – 40
potassium 100 – 220
iron 24 – 35
manganese 0.6 – 6
zinc 1 – 8
copper 0.3 – 5
boron 0.2 – 1
magnesium 50 – 150
sodium 0 – 100
sulfur 25 – 500
molybdenum 0.1 – 2

Acidity – The soil pH range measured in the saturation extract (Method 21a, USDA Handbook Number 60) shall be 6.0 – 7.9.

Salinity – The salinity range measured in the saturation extract (Method 3a, USDA Handbook Number 60) shall be 0.5 – 2.5 dS/m.

Chloride – The maximum concentration of soluble chloride in the saturation extract (Method 3a, USDA Handbook Number 60) shall be 150 mg/l (parts per million).

Boron – The maximum concentration of soluble boron in the saturation extract (Method 3a, USDA Handbook Number 60) shall be 1 mg/l (parts per million).

Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) – The maximum SAR shall be 3 measured per Method 20b, USDA Handbook Number 60.

Aluminum – Available aluminum measured with the Ammonium Bicarbonate/DTPA Extraction shall be less than 3 parts per million.

Soil Organic Matter Content – Sufficient soil organic matter shall be present to impart good physical soil properties but not be excessive to cause toxicity or cause excessive reduction in the volume of soil due to decomposition of organic matter. The desirable range is 3% to 5%. The carbon:nitrogen ratio should be about 10. A high carbon:nitrogen ratio can indicate the presence of hydrocarbons or non-humified organic matter.

Calcium Carbonate Content – Free calcium carbonate (limestone) shall not be present for acid-loving plants.

Heavy Metals – The maximum permissible elemental concentration in the soil shall not exceed the following concentrations:

Ammonium Bicarbonate/DTPA Extraction
parts per million (mg/kilogram)
dry weight basis
arsenic 1
cadmium 1
chromium 10
cobalt 2
lead 30
mercury 1
nickel 5
selenium 3
silver .05
vanadium 3

If the soil pH is between 6 and 7, the maximum permissible elemental concentration shall be reduced 50%. If the soil pH is less than 6.0, the maximum permissible elemental concentration shall be reduced 75%. No more than three metals shall be present at 50% or more of the above values.

Phytotoxic constituent, herbicides, hydrocarbons etc. – Germination and growth of monocots and dicots shall not be restricted more than 10% compared to the reference soil. Total petroleum hydrocarbons shall not exceed 50 mg/kg dry soil measured per the modified EPA Method No. 8015. Total aromatic volatile organic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene) shall not exceed 0.5 mg/kg dry soil measured per EPA Methods No. 8020.

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