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In need of some help. I made a mistake with 7 tons of "gravel"  RSS feed

 
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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I need some big help!

This is my first post on the site, I am excited to finally be joining the permies.com forums!

My partner and I purchased 2 acres and we plan on living off the grid and keep things as natural as we can around us.

We were in need of some gravel to put down in the driveway. Our first rainstorm that we saw on the land was the recent remnants of hurricane Issac. Since we had limited funds we needed to go with what we could find cheap so thats why we went with gravel.

The guy that delivered it to me said it was clean driveway rock gravel. When he pulled up I asked him to spread it down the driveway as best as he could and he said he would. Well he ended up just raising the dump truck and with little to no effort to actually spread anything around he proceeded to dump the load of gravel. He managed to spread 7 tons of gravel a whopping 15 to 20 feet. Then without even getting out of his truck he just drives off, lowering the bead as hes driving away.

Well we were stuck with 2 shovels to move this huge mound of piled up gravel in our driveway. At first things seemed okay, we were just making the best of the bad situation that we were in. Well once we got the top layer off of the gravel it started to smell like a junkyard. If youve ever been to one then you know what that gravel smells like, and if you havent been to one Im sure you can imagine how it smells lol. Well we stopped spreading it over the driveway once we realized that this stuff didnt seem like normal rock.

Now were worried about the runoff from this nasty gravel. I am assuming that normal gravel isnt supposed to smell like oil so I dont know what to do. Right now we have a small parking spot made with it and we spread out the mound to be maybe 40ft long so that cars can drive over it.


I dont really know what to do with it so Im really in a bind! Do I give it away on Craigslist? Is there anything that I can do with it? I just need some help. And this has been a HUGE learning lesson for me. From now on anything that comes onto my land will be personally inspected by me before anything is unloaded.

Thank you for your help!!
 
pollinator
Posts: 334
Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
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since nobody else has replied, I'll chime in...not really sure what to do but if it smells like oil, that's probably not a good sign

my thoughts are that you might want to see if you can clean it.. get some barrels and start washing it with a light detergent soap to get the oil off.. not sure what to do with the waste water though - that's the tricky part.. I'd assume you do have city water and would likely just dump it down the drain, which isn't good, but probably not as bad as half the shiite going down the drain of most homes

sounds like a major pain.. let us know how it turns out
 
pollinator
Posts: 459
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I think my first step would be to call a university extension service and see about getting the gravel tested. Going by smell alone seems less than certain to me. If the gravel is in fact contaminated, I'd think about holding the company you bought it from responsible for cleanup. But sometimes things can smell nasty without being nasty.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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Thank you for the replies!

I purchased the 2 acres in the country and currently there is no water ran there. We're going to be bringing in our own water until we figure out something else. So cleaning it wouldn't really work.

I guess the university could test it but I'm sure that wouldn't be cheap. And honestly I don't think gravel should ever smell like crude oil, but I honestly have no idea. Even if it's not bad gravel I hate the smell! I wanted to get away from city smells, not create them lol. I agree that the guy should be held liable but it was just a cash sale between us and I'm sure if I call him up he's just going to tell me there is nothing wrong and I really don't want to take this to court, but I guess if I needed to then I could pull that option out.

Im thinking about posting it on Craigslist for free. Maybe someone will want it lol.

If you have any other ideas let me know. I appreciate all of your help!
 
steward
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Location: FL
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'Clean' gravel probably means there is no debris, trash, construction materials in the mix. Contaminants are another matter. I don't bring anything onto my land without taking a good look at it first.
If you can't get rid of the stuff, you can spread it thinly as you place it on the drive. Let the sun and air get to it to help dissipate whatever is causing the stink.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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I agree, nothing will be brought on our land without fully inspecting it. This was a huge lesson for me to learn. This type of mistake will not happen again for sure!

That's a great idea to spread it out and let it dry. We've already been trying to spread it out actually because we can't exactly drive a little car over that massive mound of gravel that was there lol. It's leveled out now but I have enough space to spread it out thinner and see what that does. I appreciate the idea! We're headed to our land today so I will prob make this my project for the next few days.
 
chip sanft
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Extension services do testing for less than you might expect. If they don't do the test you need, they'll probably be able to recommend somebody. But even if the test is a hundred bucks, it seems like knowing what's what could be a step in the right direction.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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So I think I found the source of the smell.

I listed it on Craigslist and had a lot of interest. I had a local guy come out today and take about 2 tons, he even gave me so really good seasoned firewood in trade for it! But he said that it was really good gravel, he only came for one load but he liked it so much he came back for more.

While we were shoveling the gravel we noticed small black rocks. I looked at this "rock" up close and it looked like coal. I took a lighter to it and I could immediately tell that it was coal by the smell. So I guess the reason it smelled was because it has coal in it.

Now my question is this, is it bad for my land to have some coal sitting in the driveway? Will coal make some nasty runoff that I don't want in my garden? I know coal is natural but so is crude oil lol.

I appreciate everyone's help!!
 
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It sounds like you got some asphalt mixed in with your gravel. Oil + rock = asphalt
 
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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Asphalt makes sense. Coal doesn't smell sitting in a pile of gravel.


If you want to know if there will be pollutions issues I think you need to find out what you are dealing with. Can you ask the man you bought it off?

If there was oil or such in the gravel you should be able to see it by putting some of the gravel in a jar of water.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
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I hadnt thought of putting the rock in water, I'll try that and see what happens.

So far the smell has gone down considerably. The only time I smell anything is if I start kicking the rocks around so that's a good sign.
 
Posts: 1791
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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If the gravel has oil in it. Mushrooms will eat the hydrocarbon after a while. http://scienceblog.com/49840/oil-eating-mushrooms/
You could get some spores to help it along faster. Now if the gravel has heavy metal in it I would move the now heavy metal mushroom
off the property.
 
Posts: 16
Location: Florida Panhandle AKA L.A. (LOWER ALABAMA)
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You can try spreading copious amounts of saw dust and then wood chips over it to help absorb any oil, inoculate the wood and mushrooms will grow out of it helping to break down/remove the contamination

if it there is solid asphalt residue i would try and remove as much as you can find yes a MAJOR PITA

i would definitely check into the possible contamination aspect, possible lawsuit, you asked for gravel, not a mix of gravel/ road base and or ground up asphalt, what did your receipt say that you purchased, most suppliers are pretty specific on what they deliver as it is done by a commercial vehicle and there is always an issue of wreck and therefore the DOT requires knowing what the hell they are hauling and whether it is toxic, something smells fishy better to check it out no matter the expense rather than let it go

my sympathies, Stark
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The university will test your soil for $18-60. So its relatively heap.
Coal/biochar is not really that bad for your land as long.
The oil that might be in it is bad for a well, but if it is low quantity as I am assuming the fungus in the soil will eat it.
Not that it maters now that you gave it away.

However if there is coal in gravel then who knows what else is in in...Lead?
Maybe you were just being bad and santa gave you lumps of coal.

Thats it you have been very bad. lol
 
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