The purpose of this study was to determine whether a duckweed bioassay could be used to evaluate the downward migration of heavy metals in smelter soils. The duckweed bioassay was initially used to evaluate elutriates prepared from samples of smelter soils. These initial tests verified that the elutriates would elicit toxic responses. Elutriate testing was followed with an evaluation of leachate from untreated soil cores or soil cores that had been amended with organic matter either unplanted or planted to a grass-forb seed mixture. There was an inverse linear relationship between heavy-metal concentrations in leachate and NOEC and IC50 values expressed as percentages among all soil cores. Based on these preliminary duckweed bioassays, there were no differences between soil types or organic amended or non-amended soil, but leachate from vegetated soil cores were less toxic than were leachates from non-vegetated soil cores. Overall, the duckweed bioassays were useful in detecting heavy metal availability in elutriate and leachate samples from smelter soils.