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FW: info on chlordane remediation

  • Subject: [cg] FW: info on chlordane remediation
  • From: allen parleir parleir@cox.net
  • Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 00:03:43 -0500

> From: allen parleir <parleir@cox.net>
> Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 23:38:32 -0500
> To: <katherine@kccua.org>
> Subject: info on chlordane remediation
> Hi Katherine,
> I received a request from Chris Kirby of the Regional Food Bank of OKC to
> contact you after she saw your e-mail asking questions about chlordane.
> Out of our experience with the Central Park Community Gardens here in Oklahoma
> City, I believe I have the answers to your questions and the information that
> you need in order for you to proceed.
> I suggest that we talk on the phone because the details are so extensive that
> I don't want to try to type them all into a story. I'm also not sure how much
> you know about chlordane.
> My name is Allen Parleir at (405)524-3977.
> The description that Chris gave you in her e-mail was not entirely accurate
> but I can clear that up when we talk.
> I applaud you for paying attention to the dangers of chlordane. No amount of
> chlordane in the soil is permitted for food production by the EPA or FDA...
> for anybody! Not just organic gardeners. It's not allowed for root crops and
> any crop which could possibly have soil splashed onto it like cucumbers,
> squash, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, well, you get the picture. Eating
> chlordane is extremely carcinogenic. However, the real danger of chlordane is
> exposure of contaminated soil to human skin.
> Chlordane was outlawed in the mid-80's because of it's long half-life. It's a
> chlorinated hydrocarbon in the same family as DDT. It was used for over 40-50
> years to treat houses for termites. It was also used quite carelessly as a
> garden pesticide.
> Bio-remediation can completely eliminate chlordane in the soil. This works
> through increasing soil fertility by adding compost and growing crops which
> accelerate microbial activity. The microbes actually eat the chlordane!
> Our lots had been vacant for six to ten years and still, chlordane levels
> ranged from 900 mg/kg to over 3000 mg/kg... that's parts per million, not to
> be confused with mcg/kg which is parts per billion. We had testing done by a
> private firm and, in addition, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. I
> designed a bio-remdiation process which, after 18 months on one lot, 24 months
> on another lot, and 36 months on another lot: all tested 0 mcg/kg for
> chlordane. The tests were extensive: 12 holes across the lots for soil cores
> at six inches deep, 12 inches deep and 18 inches deep.
> Our story in a nutshell is that our neighborhood association was given title
> to five vacant lots where homes had been bulldozed by the county. We planned
> to use them for community gardens. We tested them for chlordane and the
> results showed that we had received vacant lots which were toxic sites. All
> state agencies said we should not use them for any kind of gardening because
> of the danger of soil contact with human skin. A very easy and quick test for
> chlordane is to look for worms. Chlordane is highly toxic to worms, and to
> birds who eat contaminated worms. We only had worms on the very edges of our
> vacant lots which is explained below.
> In theory, the chlordane should have only been an 18" swath around the
> footprint of the old house because chlordane binds to soil particles, does not
> migrate when water passes through the soil and does not rise up through the
> vascular system of plants. However, the bulldozers did a good job of spreading
> the chemical all over the lot.
> We didn't want to give up on our dream of creating community gardens on these
> sites. I made lots of phone calls but no one from any state university or
> agency had anything hopeful to say about our toxic sites. The only good use
> for the lots was to build another house which would never be vulnerable to
> termites. Or we could scrape the contaminated soil off the sites and dispose
> of it as hazardous waste which was estimated to cost in excess of $500,000.
> Not an option for us.
> While attending a community gardening conference in Houston, Texas sponsored
> by Urban Harvest, I shared our story and heard from a participant about the
> success of a man from Tucson, AZ who had used a special microbial compost to
> get rid of chlordane. I was suspicious.
> I did some more research, talked with the man from Tucson and his father from
> Arkansas and with their help, began a bio-remediation process for three of our
> lots. On the other two lots we used a physical barrier of two or three feet of
> wood chips to keep the contaminated soil away from human contact.
> Well, I typed up a lot more than I thought I would. There's still a lot more
> to share with you.
> Let's talk on the phone.
> Allen Parleir 
> P.S. If you do a google search using my name, you can read a news article from
> the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette written nine months into the bio-remediation
> process about our chlordane experience and the Arkansas company that helped
> us.

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