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Using pond muck as a soil booster?

 
Posts: 6
Location: Warwick, NY
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About 1/2 mile away from me there is a housing development that recently mucked out their sedimentation pond. The muck from the bottom of the pond is stockpiled next to the pond, just off the road into the development.

I know that this soil would be pretty filled with nutrients and microorganisms, and could provide a good additive to my garden beds, food forest, and compost. A cursory look on the interwebs also showed that pond muck can also have trace metal levels 5 to 30 times higher than normal soil. Since this pond was built within the last 15 years and the development is very low-density (only 3 high-priced houses on 10+ acres) and in a fairly rural area, I think that "bad" metals like lead and chromium would be relatively minimal while "good" ones like manganese, magnesium and zinc would be the ones present in elevated levels. I know that the only way to know this for certain is to take a sample and run a TCLP test on it, but those are pretty expensive (somewhere around $600 a pop here in NY).

Does anyone else out there have any experience with using pond muck as a soil additive? Any advice to offer before I jump in? Thanks in advance!

Chris Harrison
Warwick, NY
 
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Christopher Harrison : One of my favorite greens to forage for Is the fiddlehead fern, a heavy metal collector ! The government of Canada reminds its Citizens
To be aware of this trait of all ferns and too Know the history of the land, and its usage for several generations back!

Things to watch for are previous accounts of things like Tanning shops, Blacksmiths, and Foundry/Smelting operations especially the production of Pig Iron from
Bog Iron deposits, these workings go back to before the Revolutionary War in parts of New Jersey, which is not far from your location !

While it is unlikely that you will have any problems, A phone call or a trip to talk with a Town or County Historian should relieve your Mind ! Big AL
 
gardener
Posts: 860
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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It makes sense to me any material infused with organic plant/animal materials would make greate soil amendments, though your concern about metals and such
are valid points, though I don't have the knowledge to respond on those.

I personally use algae I collect out of one of my ponds as a soil amendment.
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Pond muck is usually anaerobic and needs to be composted/aired out before using. After the heavy metal and toxin concerns are addressed.
 
gardener
Posts: 5936
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Any time you plan to use something of questionable substance I think it is a good idea for some chemical analysis prior to use. Pond Muck is, as previously stated, coming from an anaerobic environment, may have contaminants buried in some or all of its many layers. To use it prior to analysis could put you in the position of having to decontaminate what was already good soil prior to the introduction. If the analysis comes back clear, then all that needs to be done is aeration and laydown.
 
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