[permaculture] Comosting toxic ingredients

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Thu Aug 10 18:17:44 EDT 2006

Michelle Maggiore wrote:
> While down in New Orleans a week ago, I learned about the techniques the
> bioremediation group with Common Ground Relief is using:
> oyster mushrooms (aforementioned on this list); sunflowers to remove lead
> from the soil, and indian mustard to remove arsenic from the oil. The first
> "crops" brought forth from these soils have to be disposed of (at least in
> NOLA), not composted. Also, the Bioremediators there are brewing compost tea
> to bring "life" back into the soil......and using "em" to break down trash
> piles along the streets and remove mold......In some of my own research, I
> have heard of using horseradish to clean thousands of gallons of
> contaminated water, and pumpkin to remove (can't remeber what type) of
> toxins. Fascinating work. I would be interested to hear what other
> techniques people have used on this list for brownfields, and other toxic
> sites,and your successes/experiences. I hope to go down there again, soon-
> there is an amazing new culture rising up from what was left behind.


Are there any websites or mailing lists that describe the groups you have worked with that are doing work in NOLA?

There is a fellow in Florida who discoverd a type of fern that hyperaccumulates
arseniic in its tissues' I suppose this means that you can harvest them for HAZMAT disposal.
Maybe you can use this and get some stock donated by the nursery in Florida that sells them.
There are references to this on the web and I have a few somewhere in my archives.

At one time I regularly archived, before the Internet/WWWeb and the body of information it accesses got so huge,
newsworthy email and news articles plus files from gopher and ftp sites. Subsets of this collection cover 
hyperaccumulation, bioremediation, aquaculture, composting, mycology and vermiculture. Most of this information
is old but some is timeless and may be of value to you. Look for the above words in the directory containing folders of 
the same names.


You might want to consider getting donations of hundreds of tons of rock dust/siltation pond fines from rock quarries in 
the NOLA area. If you could use a loader to mix some dust with the things you are trying to remediate or compost your 
job would be made a lot easier. If I had the time and money I would go down to NOLA to spearhead a project to use rock 
powders in this way just to prove that it would work. I would enjoy meeting those Bioremediators. Pond fines are usually 
free for the hauling and you might find a contractor already working there who could haul them to your jobsites. What is 
being done for sewage treatment? grey water? black water? composting humanure-lets.

Let me know if you want more ideas or info.


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