An employee with a gas mask mixes a soil sample.

© TU Wien, Institute of Geotechnics

According to EU Regulation 2016/2031 on protection against plant pests, the import of plants, plant products or other objects from non-EU countries - including soil samples - is generally prohibited. The background to this is that soil samples could contain pests whose import into the EU should be avoided.

For scientific purposes, however, a temporary exemption can be obtained, provided that the research institution is approved as a quarantine station or closed facility and is operated as such. The competent authority for this is the Official Plant Protection Service for Vienna, part of the Municipal Department 42, Plant Protection Department, Dresdner Straße 81-85/2/6, 1200 Vienna.

The earthworks laboratory of the Institute of Geotechnical Engineering at TU Wien is a quarantine station or closed facility approved by the authorities. The requirements for this are reviewed annually by the authority. This means that soil physics laboratory tests can be carried out on soil samples from non-EU countries - in compliance with the requirements set by the authority.