Veggies ruined by reclaimed water?

derbykaDecember 7, 2011

Although I am lucky to have quite a large patio/yard for an apartment, I get very little sun during the Florida growing season because of the . Therefore, I regularly put my vegetable plant containers out in the courtyard behind me during the day. When I came home from work yesterday, I was startled to find the leaves of the broccoli and green onions soaked while nothing else was touched and not a cloud in the sky. It wasn't until later in the evening that I found out that the apartment complex had installed and ran sprinklers in the courtyard for the first time. I am assuming that this was reclaimed water and am wondering if my plants are tainted to a point of no return or if I wait to harvest and then was them well, they might be considered safe?

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I'd be curious to know the answer to that question, also. I know reclaimed water is used on golf courses, etc but is it treated even minimumly?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:54AM
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We lived at a condo complex that used reclaimed water for irrigation and it smelled highly of sulfur. Someone said it was added to discourage people from using it as drinking water but that may be hokum.

I do know that the water was vile and caused people to cough and my DH believed it gave him a rash from the spray while irrigating so there were definite impurities.

Now we live in a single family home/neighborhood but had to turn off the irrigation (well) because it was too salty and was killing my plants. We had the water tested so we know that is the reason.

I suggest you collect some of the water and take it to your county extension office and test it, should be no charge. You may not be able to stop the irrigation but maybe you could set up a buffer zone with taller plants to block the bad water. That's what I've done to block our neighbor's equally bad irrigation from hitting my yard. I can't tell him to turn it off, not friendly :-)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:47AM
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rednofl(9b Goldenrod Fl hz 10)

Reclaimed water can be 2 types generally. Reclaimed sewage treatment water you can call the plant and get a water quality report from them. I am familiar with Seminole county and other than slightly higher nitrates and not being heavily treated with chlorine and fluoride it is very similar to what they provide for you to drink. Otherwise they may just be pumping out of the retention pond on the property. Maybe not a good choice for the sole irrigation of your veggies, but no big deal if you rinse them off before consuming.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:37AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

As long as you are going to cook the veggie it is safe to eat. It is also safe if you will peel the veggie....but say the water landed on lettuce leaves I personally would not eat them. The water is filtered and treated but it is not safe to drink so it would not be safe to eat on a raw veggie.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:39AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Here in St. Pete, using reclaimed water for edibles is strongly advised against. & I know it is unhealthy for many edibles because of the high chlorine & salt content.

While the chance of you ingesting pathogens may not be that high, the water itself may be bad for the plants. I would rinse them thoroughly ASAP.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:32AM
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I have heard that reclaimed is bad for roses and azaleas, and other plants... I would not hook up to it when it came around my corner... but I already have a well that provides excellent water, and of course City water ( St Pete ) the water is excellent, also we get a Report yearly provided by the City.... sally

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:22PM
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I am in St. Pete so I appreciate the info. I moved everything to what I thought was a safe spot only to have them all completely drenched. These sprinklers are giant and blast the plumes of water over my fence (6 feet of reed fencing) and more than half way into my yard. So, now not only are the veggies in containers affected by many of my in-ground ornamentals. All of my patio furniture also gets soaked. In the containers, I had broccoli whose little heads were just ready to be picked, lots of green onions, bush beans, basil, and some lettuce that it just got cold enough to start. I could thoroughly rinse everything, but they are so saturated (including the soil) at this point that I don't know if it is worth it...

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Have you mentioned this to your management? I live in a townhouse community and the sprinklers are constantly getting out of whack and needing adjustment. Just tell them, and they may fix it for you. (Won't solve what's already happened, but at least you won't have it happening all the time.)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 1:05PM
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