Creek or river sand is it safe?

Many of you are aware not much grows watermelons better than sandy river bottom soil. Since I have no river bottom I’m considering bringing the river bottom to me. Was contimplating buying a large load of sand to grow watermelons and a thought struck me that not even the fish are safe to eat from many rivers and creeks here in Kansas. Do you think the sand is as bad as the fish because I don’t see why it wouldn’t be? The other half of my plan is put the sand close to my ponds so I can use the pond seepage water to make the melons grow like crazy. I grow melons now but nothing to write home about. Dreaming or plausible?

I know in potting mixes you would not want to use river sand, as it has smooth edges, and it tends to mat together, one uses sharp edged builder’s sand. So another consideration. At my cottage in the St Clair River in the 70’s Dow chemical dumped ton’s of mercury in the river so no one could eat the fish for a decade. About 10 years ago they had to dredge the river to make it deeper for freighter traffic and some worried about the mercury being stirred up. So test boats collected samples during the dredging which turned the river brown. No mercury was found. Nature has a way of cleaning itself up. It’s probably all in Lake Erie :slight_smile: If recent efforts to keep your rivers clean is in effect, it’s probably safe to use. If they stopped dumping, the sand should be fine.

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Fortunately for us there is more than one river and some I think are better than others. Unfortunately not in the late 80’s and early 90’s all chemicals were dumped straight in the Kansas river. Several plants and laundry facility places, slaughter companies etc. did the dumping. In the early 90s the Laundries were required to build waste water treatment facilities that cost at the time millions. The facilities would remove lead and oils and other substances from the water being dumped back in the rivers. Thankfully I drank mostly deep well water and did not grow up in one of the towns beside the river. I suspect many cities are merely giving the heavy metals etc. away in treated sewage sludge which is likely going on farm ground and right back in the river. Vicious cycle right? Another words they say don’t consume more than a few fish per year from that river. I suspect other rivers are safer than the Kansas. It would be in My opinion wise to get my sand upstream from where dumping occurs and from a cleaner river. Not sure the other rivers are much cleaner. At times we see lots of trash in creeks and rivers that was illegally dumped.

Just for myself I probably won’t spend the money on sand. Maybe it’s cheaper than I think or the benefit greater. The calculator in my head would question the cost/benefit ratio. I’d have no qualms from a safety standpoint. Sand doesn’t hold nutrients or toxins. If in the river they’d be in the mud.

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Maybe some sand filters? I have an under sink filter system and one of the filters is a sand filter.

I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d go dig away. Unless they were dumping toxins right there…i’m sure they have been flushed to the rivers oceans, evaporated, broken down somewhat by sun/bacteria…

scratch that…my undersink has a sediment filter…that filters out sand… I think i have heard of sand filters…

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Cost/benefit analysis. It’d probably be ok, but no way to guarantee it besides testing.

As a great man would say:

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I suspect it is the soil part of “sandy river bottom soil”, not the sand part that makes it so good. Like the Nile delta which grew great crops for years, replenished by the annual flooding which brought down new soil from the mountains and deposited it there (until they built that dam).

If you could get straight river bottom soil that would be great. But the washed sand one buys has most of the organic and soil constituents washed out of it. Makes good concrete and mortar, but I doubt it would help grow anything. Now if you could talk to the yard that washes the raw sandy soil, and ask them to deliver the stuff they wash out of the sand, that might be good (with a bunch of caveats, how clean it is, etc).

If you are thinking your soil has too much clay, more organic material is usually the best way to fix that. Adding pure sand to clay generally makes a sort of mortar.

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If you could mix 50% sand into the top 2-3ft of your soil then it might help grow better melons. But that would be 2-3ft of sand and a lot of mixing. Adding a few inches of sand…I just don’t see that helping.

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