I moved to Croatia and bought a property that was in the middle of the war zone when Yugoslavia was breaking. People decided use the property as a dumping ground especially around the house and in half the garden. The rest of the property is new growth forest.
My question, as I continue to dig the crap out of the ground what measures can I take to bring about healing on the land. Is there certain plants I can grow to work on the soils? The rubblish has been there a while so maybe a lot of the effects have been dealt with, I just dont know. Also the roof on the house that was there was tore down and is scattered on the grounds. The roof tiles look like asbestos, what are the effects of this nasty stuff on the soil?
People have said I was mad buying this property but for me someone needs to bring healing back to this place.
I would appreciate any help/insight you can offer.
My pigs are digging up lots of stuff and leaving it on the surface - if you want the trash out of there, they may work for you. If there could be toxic things on the property like lead from batteries then that's a lot different than just wood, fabric, paper, etc. that can biodegrade. If weapons have been dumped then you may need to proceed with caution!
Asbestos, as far as I know, is a natural material. The only hazard is if you inhale dust from decaying asbestos products - in the ground it should be held in by the bacteria, etc. and be ok. If you will be moving piles of asbestos shingles then you should probably wear a breathing filter mask rated for asbestos.
I was just reading about a farm where they dug pits and put anything that could degrade (even metal) in them to let them break down and actually used water from those pits to water the land to increase fertility. Electrical wires contain lead, I'd be careful of those.
There is a lot of household waste which I dont worry too much about, except for the dislike of all the plastic used to dump it in. Nothing so far has been really bad except for seeing plastic cartons and bottle that once contained motor oil. Of course, if it was dumped it was more than likely empty and all of them still had the tops on. I will have to watch out for the wiring that was ripped out from the house that was there. I would love to build a pit and compost this way though with the water table being quite high I would prefer not to do it - I want to dig a well for water. I might get the stuff compacted and made into blocks and make a small build out of it as a reminder. Cheers!
hey neil, that sounds like a wonderful endeavor, your reclaim project. As for the asbestos shingles, those might prove to be useful as a fire pit lining, or in projects that need a fire proof substance. Nails and steel or iron is kind of easy to find with a strong magnet. As for possibly oil soaked dirt, moss can sometimes grow in that type dirt, but the moss doesn't really 'fix' the dirt, just grows on it, if you mark the area where the oil cans lay, don't use that dirt if possible, except in a roadway perhaps. If there is any drywall, often called 'gypsum' that can be cleaned of nails and soaked in the rain, to remove the paper...some people just throw gypsum board pieces with the paper as a thin layer in 'good dirt' building projects...gypsum provides calcium, which is generally a good thing for dirt.
All those 'plastics' you may have can be valuable, if you think of it as a 'solid form of~~oil~~! I would be alittle careful burning the plastics, vinyl, or Styrofoam as a brush pile starter fuel, as the melted plastic often remains on the ground where you burned the pile, and there is ~~~heat & air pollution~~~, old tires are similar that way, leaving steel cords behind after the burn, if your going to burn stuff, try to do it in a roadway, so ya don't contaminate the ground further. If there are big pieces of plastic, I often cover my brush piles with it to keep them very dry...then just after a big rain...catch the pile on fire, there again....remove the plastic if you don't want that place contaminated with melted stinky stuff.
If you have lots of rocks or stone/brick rubble, try to keep them in specific areas...the idea is not to move the stone more than once or twice. I would not create rock & rubble piles at the base of a tree you intend to keep, because when you use a shovel to remove them later...you could hurt the tree roots. If you intend to use the stoney stuff in a roadway, try to accumulate all your stone along side the roadway first, because it is easy to manage stoney rubble to make a road with...if you have more than enough stored. If you were to use it in a roadway, it is easier to use all of what you have stored, raking and placing the rubble so it lays well, then cover it with clay dirt to pack it tight...the large rubble is used as cheap filler, you will be surprised how much of the filler is used before finishing with smaller rocks and dirt. If all your rocky type rubble is first stored beside the roadway site, sorting of the various sizes is easier to do at that time, think of it like this: all the large stone is deep in the base of the road, but you can't put large rubble in after the building of such a roadway, so then your stuck with a bunch of large rubble that you wish you had got in the roadway.
As for paint cans, if it was oil based paint, be careful not to shake the can much, and you can actually pour the oil off of the paint. The paint in the bottom of the can is like super fine clay with various pigments, I have separated the oil, and accumulate the 'paint' in one or more buckets with a lid. I have even added the paint to water based paint provided the oil is poured off first. That oil is often times linseed oil, which is valuable to have sometimes. Old metal rusty paint buckets, even with holes in the bottom, & dents make a decent 'container' to grow a plant in.
I like that pig idea for helpers on the ground, feed your pigs some homemade wood charcoal now an then, it helps the animal better deal with some poisons. A 'flat square shovel' is much better for scooping materials off the top of the ground than the other kind of shovel. Since your in a warzone, it might be fun to put a sign up that says: 'help reclaim the old dump' or something funny like that, a sign with an invitation to help clean ...is much better than the look of the old dump, ya never know there might be some that know your mad for buying the dump, but willing to lend a hand anyway.
Howdy Neil , welcome to permies. Where did you move from? Where you already in the area? You are very adventurous to move into a war zone. Hope things are peaceful for you now!
As was already said be careful around the asbestos, do not breathe it.
Neil Macultaigh :Congratulations, This is an incredibly brave thing you are doing, there is always the danger of unexploded munitions and mines!
If you must continue with this adventure, pigs would be a good 1st line of defense, as they will root up everything, including things that you don't
want to be the person to find ! I also agree with Mike Wong, Paul Stamets is well known for his work on remediation of oil contaminated soils, sterile
soils and also dealing with soil remediation and high levels of fecal problems in dairy run off ! For the Craft ! PYRO AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
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