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White spirit spillage

I have just taken on an allotment, which is in a real mess.

I was doing some digging when my fork hit something.  I lifted it up and found I'd hit a container of white spirit, which has now spilled on the soil.

My questions are many!

  • is that area of soil now toxic?
  • if I plant something there, will it be safe to eat?
  • if not, how can I "cleanse" the soil? and how long will the process take before I can plant something to eat there?



  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Would not say toxic in the "we are all going to die sense"image

    Perhaps isolate the area and do a few test sowings of something too see if it germinates when the soil has warmed up a bit-as for will it be safe to eat?-would hate to say yes-then.....................

    A lot of it will just evaporate into the air

  • What quantity? A 0.5 litre bottle,, 5 litre drum, a 25 litre drum? Smaller quantities shouldn;t be much of a problem as Sotongeoff says most will evaporate away but you should refer to the "Material Safety Data Sheet"(MSDS) if you have the label and it's a significant quantity. If not you could e-mail any manufacturer of white spirit for advice.  

    If you are worried about it (I don't think yous should be) , you could plant a sacraficial crop in there. Mark the area well so you don;t forget. Potatoes are usually quite good as a general sequestratiion crop. They are quite hardy, take in a lot of water to produce carbohydrate for the cost of a seed potato.

    Some plants are better at sequestrating some compounds than others. There are plants which are used to remove heavy metals others used to remove hydrocarbons ,

    Whena I asked at my botanical gardens society/ club about sequestration crops for  I was given the name of someone who was an expert in these things for cleaning up brownfield sites and the URL of their company website whiich listed some of the crops.


    Google combinations of the words 'sacrificial, sequestration hydrocarbon trap crop' and whatever the MSDS says is in the boittle / drum. Probably similar to the bottle I hav here which says  Hydrocarbons, C9-C12, n-alkanes, isoalkanes, cyclics aliphatic hydrocarbons.

    Guerrilla gardening sites will also have advice on which plants to use for cleaning up brownfield soil.  

    I spilled half a tin of Zinc Phosphate primer paint today in the garden.I'm not overly bothered about what it does to the soil (Zinc is good, phosphates are good AFAIAC ) but it's really expensive so I scooped as much as I could of it into a tub and continued using it for what I was painting.


  • Thanks very much for your responses - very reassuring! 

    It was probably a couple of litres that leaked on to the soil before I managed to stop it.

    I was wondering whether to have a little fire on top of it to draw it out ( can you tell I'm not a scientist!), but the idea of a sacrificial crop sounds a little more sensible image

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