Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O157 and non-O157 serogroups are known to cause serious diseases in human. However, research on the persistence of E. coli non-O157 serogroups in preharvest environment is limited. In the current study, we compared the survival behavior of E. coli O157 to that of non-O157 E. coli strains in agricultural soils collected from three major fresh produce growing areas of California (CA) and Arizona (AZ). Results showed that the nonpathogenic E. coli O157:H7 4554 survived longer than the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in Imperial Valley CA and Yuma AZ, but not in soils from the Salinas area. However, E. coli O157:NM was found to persist significantly longer than E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in all soil tested from the three regions. Furthermore, two non-O157 (E. coli O26:H21 and E. coli O103:H2) survived significantly longer than E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in all soils tested. Pearson correlation analysis showed that survival of the E. coli strains was affected by different environmental factors. Our data suggest that survival of E. coli O157 and non-O157 may be strain and soil specific, and therefore, care must be taken in data interpretation with respect to survival of this pathogen in different soils.