Soil contamination testing lab

SUEZ offers a comprehensive soil contamination testing lab service for geotechnical and site investigation engineers, environmental consultants, landowners and property developers of all types. Our laboratory reports allow our clients to understand levels of contamination in both natural and built landscapes so that they can operate their business safely, protecting their people and the environment.
Soil contamination

Soil contamination testing lab

Soil contamination analysis takes place at our laboratories in Consett and Kent. We are known as Derwentside Environmental Testing Services, DETS, and are part of SUEZ in the UK. We offer a comprehensive scope of soil analyses, including testing for heavy metals, hydrocarbons, PAHs and asbestos. We operate a fleet of dedicated vehicles for collections and deliveries across much of the UK.

ISO 17025

We are an ISO 17025 accredited lab, meaning that we comply with the international standards laid down for soil laboratory analysis, giving you complete confidence in our results. More information can be found here:


The Environment Agency has established its Monitoring Certification Scheme: MCERTS to ensure high quality environmental measurements. The scheme provides for the product certification of instruments, the competency certification of personnel and the accreditation of laboratories based on international standards.

UKAS accreditation

UKAS is the national accreditation body recognised by the British government. Our laboratories have UKAS accreditation for many of the tests we provide which gives confidence to customers on the quality and competence of the services we offer within our laboratories.


Asbestos testing lab

SUEZ offers asbestos testing and we have a dedicated and specially trained team offering our asbestos testing service, accurately measuring for presence, type and respirable fibre counts.

Our asbestos analysts are all qualified to BOHS P401 with designated staff qualified to BOHS P402 and BOHS P403. After 15 years of providing these specialist services to environmental consultants, geotechnical consultants, local authorities and the building industry, you can be confident of their expertise.

We provide expert services to industry standard methods, including ‘Polarised Light Microscopy’ in our soil testing lab to determine the type of asbestos (and therefore the risk) in varying soils, aggregates and bulk materials.

Asbestos testing service

Our asbestos testing service has been established for over 15 years, providing an asbestos analysis service to local Government, environmental consultants and landowners. We can safely transport your samples from your site to our laboratory and then we can accurately determine the amount and type of asbestos in soil, in bulk building materials, asbestos in aggregates – even asbestos in track ballast.

Asbestos report

Our reports will include a confirmation of asbestos presence and quantities, types of asbestos present and the quantities of respirable asbestos fibres.

There are three stages that will be reported on:

Stage 1: Identification – presence/absence of asbestos fibres using Polarised Light Microscopy as per HSG248
Stage 2: Quantification – detailed gravimetric, using Polarised Light Microscopy 
Stage 3: Quantification -  fibre dispersion, measurement and counting, using Polarised Light Microscopy and Phase Contrast Microscopy
Respirable fibres – mass of asbestos fibres in range 1-5 microns.

We are fully certified and accredited, our asbestos reports are authoritative and comprehensive. When dealing with a potentially dangerous substance like asbestos, it makes sense to use a well-establish asbestos testing service like those operated by SUEZ. 

Polarised Light Microscopy

Polarised Light Microscopy is the main technique used in our asbestos lab to identify the type of asbestos. It is very important to get this right, as the type of asbestos determines how dangerous it is.

It works by the crystal lattice associated with silicate minerals such as asbestos interacting with the light rays of the microscope, allowing us to identify the presence and type of asbestos in the sample.

We also use PCM – Phase Contrast Microscopy – for fibre counting and phase 3 gravimetry.

Contaminated land

Contaminated land analysis

For those clients working in the remediation and brownfield development industries, we can provide a range of environmental services designed to meet your analytical needs.

Soil contamination

Soil contamination testing often reveals heavy metals, hydrocarbons and PAHs. We do the following chemical analysis of soil samples:

  • CLEA metals (contaminated land exposure assessment): These include Cd, Cu, Cr, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn, Fe, Al, Be, As, B.
  • Sulphates in soil: Sulphur compounds including total sulphur, sulphide and sulphate
  • Cations in soil: Na, K, Ca, Mg
  • Water soluble anions: Cl, NO3, NO2, SO4, PO4
  • Cyanides, phenols, and TOC (Total Organic Carbon)
  • VOCs and SVOCs
  • TPH: GRO, EPH, speciated TPH and BTEX
  • PAHs and PCBs
  • Pesticides and herbicides 

We can also determine pH, EC and calorific value.

Case Study

Enabling land remediation in Scotland

Mason Evans is a geo-environmental consultancy in Scotland that provides high quality, practical and technically robust solutions to its clients across the UK.
Read more

Groundwater contamination

As part of a land contamination assessment, many clients also opt for a groundwater contamination analysis if they feel there is a chance that the contamination has reached the waterways.

This will test whether contamination has led to nearby waterways, as many compounds like solvents and heavy metals can contaminate drinking water and be dangerous to human and marine life.

Surface water contamination

Surface water contamination can be a major issue on some sites and it’s essential to do a thorough analysis of any water and its margins to check for pollution, and in particular heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Our testing suites can provide the data required for hazardous/non-hazardous classification required for disposal.

Leachate contamination

Leachate contamination can be a major issue, especially in landfill sites. We are highly experienced in handling landfill leachate samples, critical for analytes such as NH4. These can often be at elevated contamination levels and we are well equipped to deal with these samples safely.

Geotechnical engineering

Laboratory testing - Geotechnical engineering

We carry out a comprehensive range of chemical tests for geotechnical and civil engineering purposes to complement the contaminated land testing.

Samples can be transported together for simplicity. We work alongside trusted partners to offer a truly comprehensive, fully integrated geotechnical lab test service.

Our geotechnical analysis tests to British Standards: BS 1377 for soil testing and BS 1744 for chemical properties of aggregates. We also work to other standard industry specifications including BRE SD1 for concrete in aggressive ground (normally sulphates, sulphides and acids) and TRL 447 for sulphate specification for structural backfills, often for roads and other large civil projects.

Soil testing for construction

Our soil testing for construction covers a wide range of detectable contaminants: 

  • Natural moisture content / moisture content to 105°C
  • Stone content
  • pH value
  • Total sulphate or water-soluble sulphate as SO4 or SO3, total sulphur, total potential sulphate, oxidisable sulphide
  • Chloride: acid-soluble / water-soluble
  • Nitrate: water soluble; Ammoniacal nitrogen: water soluble
  • Total organic matter
  • Loss On Ignition (LOI)
  • Aggressive carbon dioxide
  • Carbonate content

Concrete testing

We can perform concrete testing on all types and ages of concrete and mortars to BS 14551 and BS 1881, respectively. Concrete tests include:

  • The integrity of the concrete
  • Concrete in aggressive ground (according to BRE SD1)
  • Acid soluble chloride content of soil and concrete
  • Cement content of concrete and mortar (BS 1881 & BS 4551)
  • Rapid chemical test for detecting high alumina cement concrete
  • Methods for analysis of hardened concrete (BS 1881: Part 124: 1988)
This range of tests offered by our laboratory conforms to several industry standards and guidance documents, including BS 1377: 1990: Part 3, BS 1744, BRE SD1 and TRL 447. Many of these tests are accredited to ISO 17025, and can be performed on soils, waters, concrete and aggregates.