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Forest garden near a capped but unlined landfill?

 
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I’ve been looking for land forever and have an opportunity to buy 7 acres with a deep pond already on it within 2 miles of my house for extremely cheap...the kicker is it’s across the road within 1/4 mile from an old landfill that is being capped (should be done by 2022, but the landfill is deep and unlined, and there’s been some evidence of contamination in nearby wells. The town is committed to managing the landfill to minimize contamination...whatever that means. And I also imagine if the environmental protection agency continues to get gutted and it becomes too expensive down the line they may be less inclined.

I’m drawn to being a longtime steward to a piece of land and bringing it back to health. I want to plant a forest garden, creating a community tree nursery and also a small half acre intensive market garden.

I like my community and want to be part of transitioning it to a better future.

But  is it just stupid to take on land next to such a man made disaster? Also important to note it’s only 3 miles from the coast at an elevation of only 89 feet...😬

Thoughts and advice?
 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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There is nothing practical they can do now to stop leaching, and if it's already coming through in the ground water I would not touch the area at all, I would also look carefully at your own well (if you have one). Planting trees and things would be lovely I'm sure and a tree nursery could work, but if there are contaminates in the ground water a market garden would be a bad idea and quite possibly would be banned as well if certain more critical pollutants appear.
 
pollinator
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Location: Haiti
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Perhaps start by getting the soil and pond water tested? There are plants that can. Help significantly with cleaning up such a place. Here it's moringa and vetiver. Perhaps try to work with the community to plant such purifying pants right around the site to help head off leaching at it's source?

I have a somewhat similar situation here, though it's less dire.
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Welcome, Brooke.

It sounds more like a future remediation site than a forest garden. I would give it a hard pass.

A municipality out where my much better half works had to buy out a local farmer after their unlined, uncapped, active landfill was proved to have started leaching into the groundwater; his land was directly downplume, and also happened to be where all the airborne litter would blow.

There might be a niche here and in similar situations for a biological remediation company that can produce lumber, paper, textile, or fuel biomass as a saleable by-product of legitimate biological remediation and reclamation, starting from the microbiome up with compost extracts and fungal slurries. One might not naturally connect remediation and a woodlot coppiced regularly for firewood, or one grown up in textile and paper plants, but if those plants are either sequestering contaminants, or providing the soil environment and inputs necessary for healthy bacterial and fungal interactions to break them down, then removal for sequestration in the form of durable goods or combustion for heat in effect removes those contaminants from the soil.

But unless you're in the position to profit from seven acres you can manage as a woodlot, or some other forest product business that doesn't produce food, and unless there are a tonne of grants and subsidies that will help you get there so you can also buy a place to live and grow food you actually want to eat, I would keep looking.

Good luck, though, and keep us posted.

-CK
 
Brooke Bell
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You all are the best. Thanks for the advice. It’s kind of what I suspected but good to have a few extra voices of reason chiming in. I’ll keep looking. Thanks all.
 
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