Author Topic: Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets  (Read 930 times)

Offline MissSentinel

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Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets
« on: January 13, 2019, 01:50:45 PM »
Hi all

I fired 80-100 rounds of lead pellets in my yard a couple months ago, and I neglected to pick them up. This spot in my yard is optimal for sunlight and I would like to build a few raised beds in this area.

Will the lead in these pellets seep into the soil and negatively affect my raised bed? I can try to remove whats left before I build the bed, but has the lead already seeped in? I really want to ensure that there is no lead in what I grow.

Thank you.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 06:10:17 PM »
Doing some searching, but I'm not finding anything definitive.  Looks like it depends on soil chemistry and what sorts of plants you grow.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 07:12:57 PM »
This is a small enough number that you perhaps could use a metal detector to ferret them out.

I have no idea about your soil chemistry, but your county ag extension office could probably offer some knowledgeable advice.  In many soils, lead just forms an oxide coat and safely sits forever.  Think of all the WWI battlefields in France that are now cropland again.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 08:10:57 PM »
Lead is only really soluble in very acidic soils.  In alkaline or neutral soils (pH > 6.5), it's very stable and not likely to be taken up by plants.  Additionally, the more organic matter you have in the soil, the less available the lead is to be taken up by plants (it's bound and held tightly by the organic compounds in the soil).

If you're planting in a raised bed, use plenty of compost and don't worry about it, unless you live somewhere with very acidic soil.  If the beds are 8-12 inches deep, most vegetable plants won't send many roots down to where the lead pellets are, anyway.

Also, the amount of lead you're talking about is pretty miniscule.  A hundred  .177 pellets is maybe 60 grams of lead.  Even if it were powdered and distributed evenly in a garden bed, it would still be what is considered "low" lead level for soil.  A cubic yard of soil (the amount in a 4x8 raised bed 10 inches deep) is about a thousand kilograms or so.  60 grams/1000 kg = 60 ppm.  Anything less than 150 ppm is considered very low for soil lead levels.

Offline Nom

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Re: Building a Raised Bed in an Area with Lead Pellets
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 10:56:38 PM »
This is a minimal matter considering some of the shooting ranges I've worked with, if you find bullets pull them out like rocks and just chuck em. Don't sweat it. 10 feet from a 40 year old police range had safe levels of contamination.  Lead doesn't leach out for fun, and you're not eating it like gum or candy. If you were putting plants in a 40-50 year old lead range that might make me run