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How to remove debris from contaminated soil?

Finding My Feet

How to remove debris from contaminated soil?

I am renovating & with it has come an  unwanted mound of dirt.

It is contaminated with a whole lot of different things from concrete bits, bricks, glass, weeds ect.

I have priced to get a professional in to come & collect but it is prooving to be quite expensive as they are saying 5Tonne worth of removal.

My question / idea is I am thinking of sifting it manually as we still need dirt to fill in holes & leveling in areas eventually. I'm thinking that each day I with help could sift using shovel & some makeshift sifter so we can keep the dirt but not the rubbish in it.

I would need to get dirt anyway. I just dont want the extra bits that come with the current dirt I have. 

Do you think it can be done this way or best just to pay around $4000 + to get rid of but excervator company?

Have included pick of dirt mound. 

TIA for any advise. 😊


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How would I takle this?

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @noidea72. It's marvellous to have you join us, and many thanks for your question about dealing with unwanted dirt.


Apart from the glass, that material is acceptable to use as bulk fill in the garden. It would be great if it didn't have the glass, but you'll find this is the type of fill that is commonly used for various purposes. If you're going to use it to bulk up garden beds, then you'd want a good 300mm of actually garden soil on top of it for the plants to grow in.


There's no reason why you couldn't sift it out to get a higher quality clean fill. As you mentioned, it will be quite some work to go through the whole pile. I'd suggest building a frame that can be leaned against a wall. That way, you can throw the fill at the top, and it will self-sieve as it rolls down. Another option is to have the frame elevated and on ropes so you can load it up and then agitate it to separate the dirt from the rubble etc. I've included a rendering below to illustrate.


Let me mention one of our landscaping experts, @Adam_W, to see if he has any thoughts.

Please let me know if you have any questions.



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Re: How would I takle this?

Thanks Mtchell, great idea. We have managed to get someone to level it out so I can rake it through. Love the idea n the pick. Now to find sutable item or material that would work.

Thanks again. 😊

Kind of a Big Deal

Re: How would I takle this?

A clients son inlaw used this -


On a wooden frame to remove weed bulbs, I would have put it on a wheelbarrow.

Some lumps of dirt did need to be grated through the wire.

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