Soil and Bioremediation

How to Keep Your Soil Healthy

When it comes to growing nutrient-dense plants, soil is where it’s at.

Unfortunately, most of us live in areas that have damaged and contaminated soil. This is often caused by oil spills, herbicides, asphalt, and concrete bases in the soil. In fact, it’s safe to say that some of these contaminants are affecting your own soil in one way or another.

Remedies for Treating Your Soil

Here are some techniques for healing your soils.

  • Microbial remediation utilizes bacteria and other microbes present in a healthy soil food web. Composting, as well as increasing the variety of plant species present in the soil, are two effective microbial remediation methods.
  • Phytoremediation uses plants as the primary processors of toxins. Plants can extract the toxin before breaking the contaminant down or binding it up.
  • Mycoremediation uses fungi to process contaminants. Fungi are especially good at processing long-chain carbon substances, such as those made from oil.

These three techniques, alone or in combination, can do a lot to work with natural processes to break down or bind up toxins. Remediated landscapes are much healthier for people, plants, and animals to inhabit. Healing a damaged landscape can take years, but it’s worth the effort.

Moving Toward a Healthier Future

Community groups, together with municipalities, will need to get together to collectively make decisions for large, common spaces. Many municipalities and states mandate capping the damaged soil with clean soil brought in from outside. Just like throwing a rug over your dirty floor, capping is not an effective, long-term solution. While it is an understandable approach given financial and time constraints, it’s worth suggesting alternative test plots using remediation.


Check out Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide to Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes by Leila Darwish, and the work of Paul Steamiest of Fungi Perfecti. Both authors are cautious, optimistic, and passionate about transforming our landscapes into healthier places for future generations.


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