TX Organic Research Center



Detox Contaminated Soil

Soil Detox for Contaminated Soil

Digging the soil out and hauling it off is not the answer. That just moves the problem from point A to point B.

If your soil has been contaminated from pesticides or petroleum spills, is contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic and chromium in treated lumber or creosote in railroad ties, or with lead and arsenic from iron supplements, the solution is basically the same.

First, stop the contamination.

Second, apply activated charcoal. It’s very fine-textured and must be mixed with water to apply. Fine textured humates are the next best choice. Zeolite can be applied in a granular form if the budget allows. 

The next step is to spray and/or drench the problem area with the Garrett Juice solution plus orange oil or D-Limonene at 2 ounces per gallon of mix. Activated charcoal will tie up the contaminants; Garrett Juice and D-Limonene stimulate the microbes to feed on and breakdown the toxins. Liquid molasses is in the Garrett Juice mix but adding additional molasses to the Garrett Juice mixture will greatly help the decontamination process. Adding the microbe product called Bio S.I. will speed up the process.

Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is widely used to decontaminate soils from a host of toxic compounds.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service states in Using Activated Charcoal to Inactivate Agricultural Chemical Spills: “Activated charcoal is the universal adsorbing material for most pesticides.” Many golf courses use activated charcoal just for those unforeseen emergencies when fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, miticides and other disease control products are overused. Many agricultural growers use activated charcoal to decontaminate soils after heavy spraying of pesticides and fungicides, prior to reseeding. And many gardeners and homeowners use charcoal for localized soil contamination.

For more information, go to North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service:  https://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/publicat/wqwm/ag442.html


Question:  Should plants be removed (asparagus) before treating with the soil detox.  P.D., Grandbury.

Answer:  No - the liquids in my detox program function as excellent root stimulators.

Question: Twenty years ago, I built some raised beds and used old crossties for borders. I was an organic gardener, but I was ignorant about the chemicals with which the crossties were treated. I quit gardening 10 years ago, fell from grace on organic, and used chemical fertilizers on the yard. Now, I want to garden again, so I have dug up the crossties and hauled them away. How can I decontaminate the garden site? R.B., Marshall

Answer: The best product for cleaning the soil is Biogize-SD, an activated charcoal product. Zeolite is the second-best. Follow the label directions for Biogize or hire an organic landscape contractor to apply it.



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