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Soil Fungi

Q.Harmless Fungus Or Deadly Asbestos? White Substance In Soil When Digging

Zone Derbyshire, UK | SarahA88 added on January 3, 2021 | Answered

We recently moved into a 1930’s era house and had some asbestos testing done, which came back clear. However, we have started digging out a patio area and found a white substance in one patch. I initially thought it looked like mold, and dismissed it. But now we’ve cleared the top soil and moved down into clay, there is a strong concentration of a white powdery substance in one section and there are a few blue flecks too. The consistency is a bit like washing powder/laundry detergent. My partner is convinced someone has buried leftover asbestos powder, I’m still hopeful there’s a less worrisome explanation. Surely if someone was burying it, they would have either wrapped it in plastic or at least buried it in its original container? And there are only a few blue specks, it’s not spread throughout. The colour is more like a copper sulphate colour rather than what I’ve seen online when googling blue asbestos. So, I’m wondering if anyone with gardening knowledge has any ideas for a reasonable explanation please? He took the photos so apologies; there’s no scale. The blue fleck is about a third of an inch/8mm long

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on January 4, 2021

It is going to be very difficult to say what that is from a picture, unfortunately.

This is going to be something that you will want to go to your local agricultural or land management authority with. When dealing with potentially toxic substances, it is best to have a licensed professional within your area to take a look at it.

I found this link, which will help you to contact your council for assistance with this:


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