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picking fruit by a gas station?

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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Lulu » Sep 13, 2011 12:39 pm

Katherine wrote: Note the distance this material can move in ground water. If anyone has any concerns about the influence on thier soils from any source, just ask the local soils lab for assistance in how to sample.

http://www.vancouversun.com/Leak+under+ ... story.html

Thanks again Lulu. I was starting to feel like the crazed science lady on here. kat


Not sure if regular soil labs could test for this, Kat, but if they do, and any trace of petrocarbons or undesireables are found, the Ministry would be called in.

Maybe because it's commercial, not residential, we had to hire an engineering firm who drilled test wells, all over our 10 acres. Next came the remediation company. At that time, they trucked away all the "dirty dirt" and then the rain water that had collected in the crater. Now, apparently, they just keep turning the dirt, and leave it to air out. Also,,there are some sort of "bugs" that can be dropped into the test wells to "eat the bad stuff". Sorry,,gets way too technical for me!

Bottom line,,don't eat the fruit!
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Lulu » Sep 13, 2011 12:50 pm

duplicate post,,sorry!
Last edited by Lulu on Sep 13, 2011 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Katherine » Sep 13, 2011 1:23 pm

Lulu, I am really sorry that you had to face that kind of disruption in your life. That must have been really awful, and I hope you are looking at a cleaner setting now.

Yes most of the larger labs will advise people on how to sample and can do these determinations. If they don't do them, they off-source the work to labs that do. I have about 5 or six labs that I send my samples to. Everything from livers to lichens and all kinds of materials and substances in between. The test for hydrocarbons in soils are specific, you have to use glass containers, no headroom in the jar, and refridgerate the jars immediately and send them in a cooler to the lab who then tests for a series of substances and concentrations. For other contaminants like salt brine or heavy metals, its a bit different, you can use a plastic ziploc bag, seal it after pushing the air out, and then send it in a cooler. Mercury...keep sealed and keep cold. All the various media and methods vary with the contaminant of concern.

The reason for the glass and no air thing, is hydrocarbons are volatile and they will partially vent off which screws up your concentration determination. Those of you reading this and thinking well then would that not happen in the fruit as its heated, the answer is to some extent it will vent off, but it would be as ordinary room temperature volatiles, or worse, in steam into the lungs of the jam maker too which is really not a good thing as Martha would say. And also, depending on the concentrations taken up in the fruit, just like in the soil, there is always some residue of the carcinogens in the fuel left behind which is absorbed across the skin and gut.

So exposing your soil will vent off a lot of the remaining HCs but the BTEX is less volatile. It can stay in a soil for decades. As you know, (I am writing this for the interest of other readers here, mostly) you can add organic materials to the soil to complex and bind the traces of fuels. Its safe to grow flowers, etc. but I think you know all this.

If anyone has a question, send me a note. Everyone in the contaminants business in western Canada pretty much knows me. (Well the old ones do!!) and I use my real name on here, so my first step would be to recommend someone or a couple of choices as to who to go to. Other than that its really something a person should ask their local Min of Env Waste Management person about. This is because the Provincial and sometimes Federal Ministries do get involved and they are good at what they do.

Finally, sources of contaminants are increasingly held responsible in Canada, that is the law and they must do remediation. By and large most sources of contaminants ARE held responsible and they do the right thing. No one wants contaminants released into soils or ground water, anywhere.

Having said all of that, there are tons of locations where the history of the contamination is lost in time. For example there was once a metal smelter in Nelson BC. Most people think Nelson is a kind of a hippy / government clerk enclave, pristine in its setting on Kootenay Lake, and that all of the pollution of the west Koots is centered in Trail and Castlegar. The fact is however, there were open air smelters all over this very metals rich part of BC. ... When in doubt, check it out!

I better get back to work here! Instead of yapping about it!

Kat
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Lulu » Sep 13, 2011 1:53 pm

Ok,,one last post and back to work here as well; there was an incident here in Sudbury, where a huge tract of land was found to be contaminated with creosote; seems there was a manufacturer on that site, years and years ago,,making railroad ties! Now there's a nasty contaminant!
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Jeannie » Sep 16, 2011 12:44 pm

Oh dear, I have a vegetable garden next door to a guy who changes his car's oil himself and saves money. He also fills his own lawn mower with gasoline and surely he spills some.
So maybe I should get my soil tested before I eat any veggies.

Oh heck, its too late, I've already consumed the tomatoes and made chilli that I've put down.
The apple tree has given me I don't know how many pies. Gee, I guess I should take out more insurance for my family. You cant have too much.

Trucks that go by our door often spill smoky fumes out of their exhaust. I can imagine what pullutants are being taken in by my garden. Gosh, do you think I should tell the authorities; maybe they'll advise me to put a shroud over my house so that the contaminates cant get in

No! No! I'll not give in.....I'll flout all those that would have us living in a bubble..
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Katherine » Sep 16, 2011 3:35 pm

This was a serious question. There is a huge difference between having a 2 to 10 thousand gallon tank underground for several decades, that is refilled continuously and naturally subjected to corrossion, and someone changing thier oil next door, or air pollutants from vehicles. Its not even the same suite of compounds. Jeannie, if you think that I am being overly conservative thats up to you. But if you ever ARE interested in the effects of various different pollutants on what we eat, I would be happy to give you a reasonable, knowlege-based assessment as a friendly courtesy. Perhaps you are aware of the difference between what you describe in your recent post and exposure of berry crops to underground gas station tanks. Being flippant and sarcastic about it doesnt help the person asking the question.

kat
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Jeannie » Sep 17, 2011 8:35 pm

That's me, a flippin cat. The sky is falling, the sky is falling.
It doesn't do any good either to give all manner of scary stories right out of the blue when all it takes is to have the soil tested by a reputable laboratory. Just because something dreadful happened to you in your part of the country doesn't mean it is the same situation in the writer's locale. Many nurseries and colleges have such facilities to test soil for contaminants as well as what elements might be low that affects good production of what is wanted to grow.
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Katherine » Sep 18, 2011 5:59 pm

You are absolutely right, if you were concerned because of the high risk, by all means, test the soils and the plants, its one of one of the things I suggested up above on this thread. However, that is expensive and you need to have an expert do the sampling. My point was, dont bother risking it. The expense of finding out if the soil is contaminated is not worth it, considering, like Ian says, there are better places to pick free fruit. Jeanne, its not just an unfortunate recent thing in BC, you would be surprised how common the problem is.

Happy gardening. I see there is a huge number of people reading this thread, but only you and I (and Lulu) actually responding on it, so maybe its time to put the thread....to bed.

Kat
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby kelly_m » Sep 19, 2011 9:08 am

Seeing as how I have absolutely no experience with possibly contaminated soils, I have not bothered to respond. But have been watching this thread.

Kat has the credentials to know what she is talking about, while Lulu has the experience as a former gas station owner to know what she is talking about. Both, IMHO, have the expertise to comment on this thread. Jeannie, you have incredible plant knowledge and your input is always welcome, as long it is on point and tends to be both helpful and informative.

This thread is about whether or not to pick fruit on property adjacent to a gas station. After presenting the information, I think the simple conclusion is it is better to be safe than sorry, considering the possible leachate from the gas station.

Yes there are many things "poisoning" our foods nowadays, but if the opportunity to avoid potential "poisoning" is there, anyone would probably do anything to avoid them.

As Kat has said, perhaps we should let cooler heads prevail and put this thread to bed.

K
Kelly
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OLD GARDENERS NEVER DIE. THEY JUST SPADE AWAY
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Re: picking fruit by a gas station?

Postby Jeannie » Sep 20, 2011 7:56 pm

Ah, to bed, perchance to dream.......or....to die, to sleep no more.
What's it going to be.....to be, or not to be....that is indeed a question.
Not the question anybody's interested in......but
A tree, there's nothing more lovely, than a tree.
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