Author Topic: Replacing contaminated soil in garden  (Read 2059 times)

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« on: March 03, 2017, 11:15:17 AM »
One of the things I was looking forward to the most when I moved out of the city, was being able to plant directly into my yard and not be constrained by containers. Unfortunately, it turned out that the fine 12'x16' raised bed in our yard was framed in railroad ties, which have rotted and contaminated the soil with arsenic and chromium over the recommended levels (I had it tested by the agricultural station.)  If I'm going through the trouble to grow my own, I want it to be healthy. Otherwise I might as well pay for the $1/bag produce at the grocery store.  I got quoted $2K from a landscaper to have the soil carted away and replaced with new... not an option.

Can you help me brainstorm cheap ways of replacing the soil?  There are two challenges as far as I can see:
1. Getting rid of the existing soil.  I think it would be okay to dump the soil, barrow by barrow, over a small cliff that we have, onto a rocky area on our property by a busy road.  I actually wanted more soil there so I could plant a hedge there, and it is already contaminated with road salt, etc. so I can't imagine anybody trying to eat anything off that ground.  As for labor, I can try doing it myself, a few barrows a day, or maybe hire my tween son to help me. 

2.  Getting more, clean soil.  I've thought of digging up other areas of my yard, but unfortunately most of our yard is rock with a very thin layer of topsoil.  No guarantees it won't be contaminated with something else. 

Some limitations:
-the current bed is the best location for vegetable gardening on our plot.  Everywhere else gets shaded out by giant trees, has no soil, etc.
- We tried building a second raised bed on top of the old one, by laying landscaping fabric on top, and filling with a combination of peat moss, compost, perlite, and vermiculite. This new raised bed is about a third of the area of the original one. It looks very ticky-tacky, and required an incredible amount of material to fill.
- The raised bed ought to look nice.  We may move within 7 years.

The cheapest and easiest thing for me to do is to give up, sow grass or ornamentals in the garden, replace the rotting ties with concrete blocks just for looks,  and continue to grow vegetables in pots.  However, I would be majorly bummed. 

Your thoughts?

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • Location: California
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 01:41:56 PM »
I agree with carting off the contaminated soil, you probably do not need to remove all of it, since most heavy metals will slowly bind into clays and generally become inert if you slowly blend them out.  Do you have high rain-fall?

Do you compost?  Start a large compost pile and keep adding it to your garden plot.

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 03:44:55 PM »
The soil is approximately 46% sand, 41% silt, and 13% clay. I would say we have moderate rainfall (New York state).

We do compost.  As I write this, I realize that I'm most concerned about where and how to get 8 cubic yards of cheap, clean garden soil. My original plan to make soil out of peat moss and compost is too expensive.  We could buy "topsoil" from Home Depot for $350 delivered but there's no guarantee that the soil will be any better than what I'm removing.

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • Location: California
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 03:57:25 PM »
With that much sand and silt you should have good drainage.  Honestly I would just make an effort to add more compost per year and with the source for the metals removed you will leach out the contaminants year per year.  If you are adding about 20% per volume per year in compost or organic matter you'll be getting those numbers to drop pretty rapidly.

I know for arsenic, there are plants that will bind arsenic.  You could just leave the soil, use one year to plant arsenic-binding plants for your area, remove said plants (not to your compost), then go forward.  Might be the easiest approach if you don't mind loosing a year's garden.

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • Location: California
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 04:04:35 PM »
Ferns!

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/phytoremediation.pdf
I knew I had read about this...

For more info google the key term: arsenic phytoremediation

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 511
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 04:18:33 PM »
For part 2, it might be worth reading up on Square Foot gardening. One of the applications I think is for situations like yours where the existing soil is not appropriate for growing food. Unfortunately, I do think the initial outlay for the soil mix tends to be on the higher-than-most-people-expect side. :(

That said, craigslist or freecycle groups might be your friend in this case, depending on how much time you have to put the whole thing together. Locally, if I am willing to go shovel it myself, I can get as much free composted or semi-composted horse/cow manure as I could want. If you can find something similar (and are willing to have it be a longer-term project, you could defs cut down on the actual monetary cost of getting good soil. You might also run into the ridiculous good luck my friends had the other weekend where someone was giving away their nearly-new garden setup, including soil.

Also, phytoremediation sounds hella cool, if the appropriate plants can grow in the zone you need to fix!

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 511
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 04:28:10 PM »
I did some internet sleuthing, and found one of the publications with species names, if you can't/don't want to buy directly from that company! https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00425-004-1304-8

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 02:30:51 PM »
Thank you, everyone! I've been reading your replies and also the planting 2017 thread and you have a lot of good ideas! 

So far, this may be the plan:
1. remove contaminated ties, lay down plastic tarp in minivan, and take to town dump (I called and they will accept them for a fee.)
2. gradually dig up and dump soil over cliff
3.  meanwhile, look to buy ferns online for phytoremediation (I actually looked for pteris vittata a year ago but could not find any for sale) so I can plant them at foot of cliff. Not necessary, but it would make me feel better.
4. Also, look on Craigslist and Freecycle for free/cheap soil/manure
5. Build new raised bed with old cement blocks I have on hand.
6. Collect branches and leaves (we have an endless supply) for hugelkultur!  This will reduce the amount of volume needed to fill the bed.
7. top branches and leaves with soil and compost, and plant!

How does this sound?

Glenstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 185
  • Location: Seattle!
  • Target FI date 2024 (maybe?)
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2017, 04:29:55 PM »
Thank you, everyone! I've been reading your replies and also the planting 2017 thread and you have a lot of good ideas! 

So far, this may be the plan:
1. remove contaminated ties, lay down plastic tarp in minivan, and take to town dump (I called and they will accept them for a fee.)
2. gradually dig up and dump soil over cliff
3.  meanwhile, look to buy ferns online for phytoremediation (I actually looked for pteris vittata a year ago but could not find any for sale) so I can plant them at foot of cliff. Not necessary, but it would make me feel better.
4. Also, look on Craigslist and Freecycle for free/cheap soil/manure
5. Build new raised bed with old cement blocks I have on hand.
6. Collect branches and leaves (we have an endless supply) for hugelkultur!  This will reduce the amount of volume needed to fill the bed.
7. top branches and leaves with soil and compost, and plant!

How does this sound?

If you know the soil concentrations in your impacted soil, you should see if the local landfill will also accept that impacted soil. Expect a tipping fee of about $30 to $40 per ton (~1.5 tons per cy). If you sell the house and you know there is contaminated soil, it should be a disclosure requirement. If you put contaminated soil in a right of way along the road at the base of the cliff, you are potentially contaminating someone else's property. Just do it right and be done with it with no reservations. It is unlikely that the chromium will be mobile enough in the chemical environment of your soil to be effectively phytoremediated, and doing actual on-site remediation may have state laws to ensure that remediation is done properly (not familiar with NY laws). 

LadyStache in Baja

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 632
    • My Casa Caoba: Making meaning in Mexico
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 04:36:36 PM »
Yes! I love your new plan!  +1 for hugelkultur, and I'd throw a fern into your garden bed too just in case there's some residual arsenic. 
Make $22/hr teaching English from home FOR REALZ! https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=4568896

Latest blog post --> teaching conflict resolution to littles--> http://www.mycasacaoba.com/teach-kids-problem-solving/

Glenstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 185
  • Location: Seattle!
  • Target FI date 2024 (maybe?)
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 04:59:25 PM »
A follow-up thought: railroad ties may also have had cPAHs associated with creosote or preservatives such as pentachlorophenol in the mix in addition to the metals to tested for.

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 300
  • Location: Australia
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2017, 10:21:00 PM »
mmm I'd have reservations about just "dumping" the contaminated soil. My 2c would be to take care of that by the book.

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2017, 08:23:38 AM »
Thanks everyone for the further input! Glenstache, I didn't know about cPAHs or pentachlorophenol, so I will look into it further.

Quote
If you know the soil concentrations in your impacted soil, you should see if the local landfill will also accept that impacted soil. Expect a tipping fee of about $30 to $40 per ton (~1.5 tons per cy). If you sell the house and you know there is contaminated soil, it should be a disclosure requirement. If you put contaminated soil in a right of way along the road at the base of the cliff, you are potentially contaminating someone else's property. Just do it right and be done with it with no reservations. It is unlikely that the chromium will be mobile enough in the chemical environment of your soil to be effectively phytoremediated, and doing actual on-site remediation may have state laws to ensure that remediation is done properly (not familiar with NY laws)

The cost of disposing of the soil will be $90/ton at the nearest facility (as recommended by our local town dump). The main issue I have with disposing of the soil is how to get it to the facility. I can easily cover the interior of my minivan with a tarp and move the timbers, but it seems to me that some sort of dump truck would be needed to move the soil.

There doesn't seem to be a single standard that defines acceptable levels of contaminants in garden soils, nor could I figure out what the law is regarding contaminants in residential soil, but I looked at NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Soil Cleanup Objectives, meant for brownfields/Superfund cleanup. The level of chromium, although higher than recommended for single residential/food gardening, is well under the recommended level for multi-unit housing (for which we are zoned.) So I think that will be okay.

My concern is about level of arsenic is about 17.5mg/kg, over the NYS SCO of 16 mg/kg. I was hoping that I could plant ferns the first year, dispose of them, and then test again.

I am not talking about dumping onto somebody else's property, only moving it from one place to another on my own property. I don't think that right of way is a concern, due to the shape and size of the lot. There is an approximately 75 x 35 foot long rocky strip of land, covered with about 0-2 inches of soil, at the foot of the little cliff. The city owns about 10 feet in from the curb, and we own another 20-25 feet. Even if we emptied my vegetable garden, the soil would be enough for only a 4 foot wide strip, 48 feet long. This means that there would still be 15-20 feet of our own property separating the new garden bed from the edge of city property, and 30 feet to the road. It will also be planted and mulched, which should reduce dust.

Furthermore, nobody walks there, as there is a sidewalk on the other side of the street, but none on our side because of the rock face that runs all along this side of the neighborhood. The cliff juts out on one side, blocking the area off from our neighbor.  However, for whatever reason people often park by the side of our property and throw trash out, or it gets blown there.  We also seem to get more than our fair share of police pulling people over there. I clean it up periodically and have planted groundcover in an attempt to beautify the area. However, I wanted to put more soil there so that it would be deep enough for low shrubbery and flowers, that might prevent blown trash and would make it look cultivated enough to discourage litterers.

At any rate, I guess I could revise my action plan to try:
1. dispose of timbers
2. find source for ferns, plant them this year, dispose of them
3. retest next spring ($75/test).  If Arsenic level improved to standard, dump soil over cliff and garden at base of cliff.
4. If not improved to standard, either plant lawn and give up on vegetable garden, or look into paying to have soil replaced.

But what would really help would be ideas on getting rid of the soil and getting clean soil, without paying thousands. Or where to get ferns for phytoremediation.

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • Location: California
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 09:58:09 AM »
Poundwise:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231016/

Sorry I laughed to myself.  I know that this is serious to you, but when I read about the levels you are worried about, they are not anywhere near where you should be alarmed.  Arsenic is very common in the western US, I know I lived in a town that had about twice what you are worrying about in the soil; in the drinking water.  (I know I drank around ~50 to 60 ppb arsenic water for about 6 years back in the 1990's).
http://ocdimage.emnrd.state.nm.us/Imaging/FileStore/SantaFeAdmin/CF/61743/14015_592_CF.pdf

IMO, yes get rid of the timbers, yes blend or move soils, but try to realize that really is not a level that would be considered contaminated. 
(Seaweed has much higher concentrations of arsenic than that, and is still considered "healthy")

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • Location: California
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2017, 10:08:13 AM »
https://sososciencedotcom1.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/the-arsenic-eaters/

;)  And be glad you didn't live back in the 1860's

Glenstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 185
  • Location: Seattle!
  • Target FI date 2024 (maybe?)
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2017, 10:38:37 AM »
Poundwise:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231016/

Sorry I laughed to myself.  I know that this is serious to you, but when I read about the levels you are worried about, they are not anywhere near where you should be alarmed.  Arsenic is very common in the western US, I know I lived in a town that had about twice what you are worrying about in the soil; in the drinking water.  (I know I drank around ~50 to 60 ppb arsenic water for about 6 years back in the 1990's).
http://ocdimage.emnrd.state.nm.us/Imaging/FileStore/SantaFeAdmin/CF/61743/14015_592_CF.pdf

IMO, yes get rid of the timbers, yes blend or move soils, but try to realize that really is not a level that would be considered contaminated. 
(Seaweed has much higher concentrations of arsenic than that, and is still considered "healthy")

As a person who does remediation work for a living and works with cleanup levels and their meaning on a daily basis, I disagree.

There are different concentrations for different exposure scenarios (exposure pathways), and based on what  type of effect is looked at. In Washington, the soil arsenic concentration including consideration of cancer risk is 0.67 mg/kg. Other levels that would be applicable in industrial settings are as high as 1,050 mg/kg because the types and duration of exposure are different. The methods to set up a cleanup level look at an assumed size of person ingesting a certain amount of the soil per day for something on the order of 30 years and what the expected cancer rate would be based on the toxicology of the substance. In Washington the criteria is usually that the exposure pathway would generate 1 in 100,000 or 1,000,000 people. It is hard to imagine a more direct exposure pathway for soil than a garden where you are growing carrots in the dirt. The cumulative exposure matters.

In some areas natural background concentrations of metals do exceed cleanup levels because of the local geology. In most cases it obviously doesn't make sense to clean up a site to lower concentrations (or simply may not be feasible). That said, it doesn't change the underlying toxicology and many drinking water systems would have to install and operate treatment systems to use groundwater with elevated backgroudn concentrations of metals, for example (The current federal arsenic for drinking water is 5 micrograms per liter (ppb); I work at a number of sites where natural background exceeds that value).

Dealing with contaminated materials is expensive. It sucks. To handle it correctly is expensive. You may ask if there are any soil recycling facilities that would take it. To have  a dump truck show up and dig and haul is probably an additional $30/ton on top of facility tipping fees.

I am not in a position to make specific recommendations to you and you should make your own decisions about how to proceed. At a minimum, you should dispose of the timbers (remove the source), and prevent contact with the soils, not grow food in it, and in a best-case remove the soil entirely.

SisterX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1483
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2017, 11:08:11 AM »
You can also use mushrooms for remediation. Look up 'mycoremediation' for more information. I realize they're not as pretty as ferns, but a bed of ferns with a layer of mushrooms underneath would be pretty cool and should absorb/neutralize the toxins pretty quickly.

+1 for hugelkultur. I made a raised bed that way and it's amazingly productive. Gallons of peas, tons of spinach, nearly 100 carrots, and a season's worth of lettuce.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 511
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2017, 10:21:39 AM »
I think you're going to have to do a lot of calling around to find the ferns. In my experience, nurseries and plant sellers have not really joined the internet age. It sounds like its a relatively common plant in Florida???

These folks have it on their 2017 catalog, so it might be worth getting in touch: http://www.arcferns.com/Contact-2.html

These folks appear to have sold it at one point, so they might have leads: https://www.plantdelights.com/products/pteris-vittata-benzilan

Good luck!!

Glenstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 185
  • Location: Seattle!
  • Target FI date 2024 (maybe?)
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2017, 10:52:39 AM »
If you choose to go the phytoremediation path, be aware that it will likely be a 10-15 year effort.

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2017, 01:54:36 PM »
If you choose to go the phytoremediation path, be aware that it will likely be a 10-15 year effort.

No cheap, easy solutions, eh.  Maybe I will just crawl off and die, and ask to be buried in the garden plot! >sobbing<

Glenstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 185
  • Location: Seattle!
  • Target FI date 2024 (maybe?)
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2017, 02:30:16 PM »
If you choose to go the phytoremediation path, be aware that it will likely be a 10-15 year effort.

No cheap, easy solutions, eh.  Maybe I will just crawl off and die, and ask to be buried in the garden plot! >sobbing<
As the saying goes,  "Cheap, Easy, Fast: choose two."

Hotstreak

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 656
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 02:25:58 PM »
Is the whole garden area contaminated, or just the areas local to the railroad ties?  If soil has been minimally disturbed I would tend to think the middle area of the garden is okay, but that you do need to remove the soil a few feet to each side of the ties, and below.  If you or the prior owner tilled extensively, or if the garden history is unknown, then of course remove it all (including several feet out from the ties).

For what it's worth, high quality OMRI certified garden soil (medium compost, peat, forest hummus, perlite, guana.. 2-3 other organic fertilizers) costs about $35/yard in my area.  Free delivery is a possibility, too.  This is from the local disposal company who is required by my municipality to take in yard debris.  The price is higher at local gardening stores (typically those targeting the cannabis grower market are best), but still reasonable.  This stuff is comparable in quality to the bags of soil you can buy for ~$8-10/CF (fox farm organics, etc).. getting 27CF (one yard) for pennies on the dollar is a great deal.  If you have local comparable prices I would dig the whole thing out and dump it off the cliff, as you suggested, then fill the garden area with the new soil, so you can start gardening well this year.  If you remove it and do some slow method of re-filling, your harvests will suffer.  As a gardener myself I wouldn't accept that.  Also, you probably know this, but avoid buying significant quantities of anything in a bag (expensive) or from big box stores (almost guaranteed low quality).


Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3799
  • Location: BC
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2017, 12:24:31 PM »
The soil is approximately 46% sand, 41% silt, and 13% clay. I would say we have moderate rainfall (New York state).

We do compost.  As I write this, I realize that I'm most concerned about where and how to get 8 cubic yards of cheap, clean garden soil. My original plan to make soil out of peat moss and compost is too expensive.  We could buy "topsoil" from Home Depot for $350 delivered but there's no guarantee that the soil will be any better than what I'm removing.
My raised bed is 100% compost.  I received a trailer load of free compost from the city, and the trailer was parked next to my new raised bed... so I was lazy and put all of it into the raised bed.  Turns out it works great.

Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3799
  • Location: BC
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2017, 12:33:14 PM »
mmm I'd have reservations about just "dumping" the contaminated soil. My 2c would be to take care of that by the book.

Just dump the soil where people won't plant veggies in it.   The levels that are too high for veggies -- I must say that thousands of people in North America still use their degraded plots, so the levels are cautionary.   

How do you think proper soil remediation works, anyway?  A lot of good bugs, and "natural" treatment for a long, long time, plus limiting run off from heavily contaminated soils to other areas.

If the soil was contaminated with (liquid) paint or oils, or heavy metals from battery or chromium plant operations then yes, dispose properly...  but for railway ties / creosote decomposition concern- just move elsewhere on property, mix in a bit of "clean" to dilute it, and treat it yourself. (leave it alone for the plants to clean).

annamal instinct

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2017, 08:59:19 PM »
Did you decide on next steps? You may want to contact your state university's extension program to learn about research on plant uptake of toxins. There's a huge difference between carrots, where you're eating the roots, and plants like tomatoes where you can take measures to prevent contact between the soil and the plant parts you eat.

That said, I'd personally err on the conservative side and go with the contaminant expert's insights above...

On another note, if you haven't already used the cement blocks you may want to reconsider using that material. They will leach calcium carbonate when it rains, which will in turn raise the pH of your soil, making it more alkaline. Some veggie plants do fine with higher alkaline, while others like more acidic soil. Here are some guidelines for many veggie plants: http://www.growinganything.com/soil-ph-for-vegetables.html.

kidiowa

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2017, 05:55:40 AM »

Jon Bon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2017, 12:18:54 PM »

My concern is about level of arsenic is about 17.5mg/kg, over the NYS SCO of 16 mg/kg. I was hoping that I could plant ferns the first year, dispose of them, and then test again.


So you are saying that you are 1.5 mg/kg over the limit? So this is only approximately 10% over the limit set by the state? Id probably get rid of the timbers, turn a fair amount of soil over and see if nature does not do its job over the next year.

After all, the solution to pollution is dilution....

The Money Monk

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • Location: Florida
    • The Secret Of The Internet
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2017, 01:34:24 PM »
Is that the only place in your yard where you can make a raised bed?

Here are a couple options I can think of:

1. remove the timbers, grass over that part, and put the raised bed somewhere else

2. Dig a giant hole on the other side of your yard, put the contaminated dirt in there, and put the dirt from the hole in the raised bed.

3. Remove a few wheelbarrows full of dirt from right under/around the where the timbers where, then plant one season of plants that will pull some of the toxins out. Then just do your thing and don't worry about it.

4. Put an ad on craigslist or wherever for free fill dirt, and see if somebody will come haul it all off for some inert purpose that doesn't involve gardening




Blueskies123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2017, 01:39:00 PM »
The soil is approximately 46% sand, 41% silt, and 13% clay. I would say we have moderate rainfall (New York state).
 

You really know a lot about your soil, wow.  Could you just plant somewhere else while the ferns and mushrooms do their thing?

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2017, 11:53:36 AM »
Well, I haven't done anything about the soil yet.  The first step is to remove the ties and take them to the private dump that will take my money and (presumably) dispose of them properly. I'll also try to fill a few garbage bags with the soil that was in closest contact with the ties. I ought to do this soon, since some of the ties have actually fallen off and have big rusty nails poking out of them. My toddler pulled a big splinter off and made a doll see-saw with it yesterday. Gotta take care of it. In my copious spare time.

Once I do that, the project has to go on hold until I save sufficient funds to replace our fence.  Once the fence is down, the dirt from the middle of the bed will go over the cliff to the area which needs more soil anyway.  Will plant ferns though still can't find any source where ladder brake is in stock. Once I do, I'll grow ferns there yearly, then harvest them and dispose of the ferns for a few years.

Then I will have to buy soil for about $400, test it again, and pray that the new soil is clean.

This area is the only part of our yard that gets sufficient sun for vegetables, but I may have to go back to containers until I work it out.  Using other locations would also involve trucking in soil, chopping down trees ($$), asking neighbors to take down trees ($$), or other expensive hardscaping. So friggin' complicated.  Grrr... thought I was done with buying soil!!

Plan B will be to just plant some sort of groundcover or pave over the remaining soil, and keep getting my produce from the store.

Anyway, thanks for all your thoughtful suggestions! I really appreciate it.



sequoia

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2017, 07:03:19 PM »
1. remove contaminated ties, lay down plastic tarp in minivan, and take to town dump (I called and they will accept them for a fee.)

Please re-consider hauling dirt with tarp in your minivan.

Our local city gov gives out free mulch several time a year, and I used to lay down tarp in our SUV and haul mulch in the car, just like what you are trying to do with the dirt.

Cheap yes, but no matter how careful we are, we always have mulch to clean and need to vacuum the car. The dust from the mulch are everywhere in the car - I would imagine the same with soil. What we do now if we need to get our mulch, we rent Uhaul trailer ~20/day. So worth it, once we are done, just hose the trailer clean and return it. Uhaul also have pick-up truck that you can rent if you do not have a hitch on your minivan.

The Money Monk

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • Location: Florida
    • The Secret Of The Internet
Re: Replacing contaminated soil in garden
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2017, 02:02:36 AM »
Well, I haven't done anything about the soil yet.  The first step is to remove the ties and take them to the private dump that will take my money and (presumably) dispose of them properly. I'll also try to fill a few garbage bags with the soil that was in closest contact with the ties. I ought to do this soon, since some of the ties have actually fallen off and have big rusty nails poking out of them. My toddler pulled a big splinter off and made a doll see-saw with it yesterday. Gotta take care of it. In my copious spare time.

Once I do that, the project has to go on hold until I save sufficient funds to replace our fence.  Once the fence is down, the dirt from the middle of the bed will go over the cliff to the area which needs more soil anyway.  Will plant ferns though still can't find any source where ladder brake is in stock. Once I do, I'll grow ferns there yearly, then harvest them and dispose of the ferns for a few years.

Then I will have to buy soil for about $400, test it again, and pray that the new soil is clean.

This area is the only part of our yard that gets sufficient sun for vegetables, but I may have to go back to containers until I work it out.  Using other locations would also involve trucking in soil, chopping down trees ($$), asking neighbors to take down trees ($$), or other expensive hardscaping. So friggin' complicated.  Grrr... thought I was done with buying soil!!

Plan B will be to just plant some sort of groundcover or pave over the remaining soil, and keep getting my produce from the store.

Anyway, thanks for all your thoughtful suggestions! I really appreciate it.

If you are going to wait years to use that spot again, that is enough time to create enough compost to where you shouldn't have to buy dirt.