Where Does the Dirt Go?

Editor's note: Some agronomists and soil scientists may find the language contained in this article, specifically the repeated use of the word "dirt", to be quite disturbing. While the author attempts to justify his use of such crude language, it may still be shocking to some. To be clear, the curator of this blog IN NO WAY condones the use of such language, and instead prefers the much more appropriate phrase "soil material".

The age old debate continues today, is it soil or dirt? Like a weed is a plant out of place, dirt is soil out of place. When the soil passes through the lab it becomes dirt. After the soil is dried and ground, the structure of the soil is functionally destroyed, so it becomes dirt. The dirt it becomes a slurry when it gets wet and rock hard when it dries out. While some have tried to find practical used for the excess dirt, the loss of soil structure severely limits the functional uses of the dirt.

Every spring and fall sampling season a common question arises, “What do you do with the soil/dirt when you’re done with it?” During the busy fall sampling season, we fill a large roll-off dumpster every other day of dirt. The dirt is taken to the landfill and used as part of the collective material used to line or cover the actual refuse in the landfill. The dirt in the dumpster is excess sample that is not used for analysis, and clean fill. The soil used for analysis leaves the lab in another much smaller dumpster as refuse.


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