The following Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) website lists the labs which are certified by the State of North Carolina Division of Water Resources. These labs may be associated with contractors which will take the soil sample for a property owner. It is advisable that a contractor should be hired who understands the methods of taking, storing, and delivering samples in order for the analytical data to be accurate.
Soil samples that are tested for the presence of coal ash should have the Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) method used for analysis, as this is the most current method used to determine presence/absence of coal ash particles and, if present, they can give a percentage that is present in the sample matrix. PLM is being used to help guide closure of the basins. PLM can be very useful because if this method does not detect any ash particles, then additional sampling (for coal ash concerns) would not be warranted.
At this time, we are unaware of a local lab (or lab in this state) that can run PLM. The lab that is being used currently is RJ Lee Group in Pennsylvania. They need a 4 oz jar and the cost for analysis is $125 per sample. If coal ash is present, then we recommend the resident consult with their contractor for next steps. It is our understanding that a local lab is preparing to be able to test for coal ash with PLM in the next couple months, but they are not ready yet. As soon as we find out that they are up and running, we will inform the community of that option.
If you have any questions you may contact the Mooresville Regional DEQ office at 704-663-1699.