Soils receive inputs of human pathogenic and indicator bacteria through land application of animal manures or sewage sludge, and inputs by wildlife. Soil is an extremely heterogeneous substrate and contains meso- and macrofauna that may be reservoirs for bacteria of human health concern. The ability to detect and quantify bacteria of human health concern is important in risk assessments and in evaluating the efficacy of agricultural soil management practices that are protective of crop quality and protective of adjacent water resources. The present chapter describes the distribution of selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in soils. Methods for detecting and quantifying soilborne bacteria including extraction, enrichment using immunomagnetic capture, culturing, molecular detection and deep sequencing of metagenomic DNA to detect pathogens are overviewed. Methods for strain phenotypic and genotypic characterization are presented, as well as how comparison with clinical isolates can inform the potential for human health risk.