Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by scottdavies, Jun 17, 2009.
can it really cause problems by using it on food crops?
in short no!
if you lsiten to the fear mongers yes it can cause plagues but there is not one single shred of hard evidence, now ahving said that if and it's a big IF there where going to be an issue it may come about if the foliage or fruit parts the edible bits get direct water coverage that's a big MAY but, as most people wash their fruits and cook their vege's.
we ahve sued gray water for at least a decade now and no one ever got sick eating at our table. we use it as fresh as it comes (stored it can at the very least go smelly which might indicate and inceas in bacteria incubating?). we only ever water the root zones and we keep all plants heavily mulched. i have heard that evapration of gray water could cause dust that could have bacteria in it and blow in the wind, but again never heard of any hard cases to support the hypothosis. had a neighbour once who pumped wate from his septic tank through a micro irriagtion system using misters, it smelt bad but his family never got sick and we didn't from visiting them.
whatever we do we should do so using a huge dose of common sense.
I wasn't going to weigh into this point but my conscience got the better of me.
Basically I'd like to say that the above post is VERY bad advice. The statement that there is "not one single shred of hard evidence" is completely wrong, as there is a lot of hard evidence and you don't need to be a Doctor, Biochemist or Microbiologist to see it. Have you ever had friends, or yourself, travel to Bali and get 'Bali Belly'? Ever heard of Cholera? What about Dysentery? All of these are associated with contamination, usually fecal, of food & water and, at least the last two, are still major killers worldwide.
From Wikipaedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1854_Broad_Street_cholera_outbreak)
On 31 August 1854, after several other outbreaks had already occurred elsewhere in the city, a major outbreak of cholera struck Soho. Dr Snow later called it "the most terrible outbreak of cholera which ever occurred in the kingdom." Over the next three days 127 people on or near Broad Street died. In the next week, three quarters of the residents had fled the area. By 10 September, 500 people had died and the mortality rate was 12.8 percent in some parts of the city. By the end of the outbreak 616 people died. Snow was a skeptic of the then-dominant miasma theory that stated that diseases such as cholera or the Black Death were caused by pollution or a noxious form of "bad air". The germ theory was not widely accepted by this time, so Snow was unaware of the mechanism by which the disease was transmitted, but evidence led him to believe that it was not due to breathing foul air. He first publicized his theory in an essay On the Mode of Communication of Cholera in 1849. In 1855 a second edition was published, with a much more elaborate investigation of the effect of the water-supply in the Soho, London epidemic of 1854. By talking to local residents (with the help of Reverend Henry Whitehead), he identified the source of the outbreak as the public water pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street). Although Snow's chemical and microscope examination of a sample of the Broad Street pump water was not able to conclusively prove its danger, his studies of the pattern of the disease were convincing enough to persuade the local council to disable the well pump by removing its handle.
The above outbreak of Cholera was caused by the dumping of fecal matter into the Thames, which subsequently fed the well.
Of course we don't have too many problems with them here in Australia because if you get sick you can just go to the Doctor/Hospital and get antibiotics and good supportive therapy... at the governments expense. However in the developing world this is very different. Also, my understanding of Permaculture (which is very limited) tells me that Permaculture is about creating habitats that support humans minimising the outside inputs into those systems through proper design. Is it prudent therefore to design a system, out of ignorance, that requires the input of highly processed antibiotics and medical care? These may be unavoidable in the general sense, but I don't think that we should be increasing the risk of needing these things through our design process.
Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that we shuldn't use grey, or even black, water; as I strongly believe we should. But like the last poster mentioned we shuld use common sense. For example, storing grey water is a bad idea (yes, the smell is caused by a massive increase in the bacterial/fungal load of the water); as is microirrigation spraying of sceptic tank matter. Relying on washing fruits and veg potentially contaminated isnt' a good move either... there is a reason that health authorities reccommend that you only eat fruit/veg which is cooked or peeled when visiting certain parts of the globe.
My message is: Bacteria/fungi are a natural part of our environment, and even our food sources. However we should be careful with how we use elements of our design that have the potential to cause us great harm, perhaps even death. For my mind, if I built a system where 100 people lived happily for years but then one died because of a system that I set-up without taking every precaution, then I'd never forgive myself. What if that person was your spouse or child?
Google grey water, read the permaculture books, and do your research. Grey, and black, water can be used safely. Let's not repeat the lessons of history.
still hype! show us the pandemic? the wards full of sick and the dying the fresh grave sites, yes we have had those types of pandemics in the past but they won't come from using fresh gray water on vege' gardens, now if we bathed in the stuff and drank it or used it for cooking there may be a chance tough ever so slight.
what happens in extreme conditions like flood times where raw sewerage (and we are not advocating the use of black water or raw sewerage) is involved is a whole 'nutha story sadly. not to be confused with the express sue of certain water sensibly. this is not the only forum i visit where good gardeners make use of used water, and in all other cases no one has suffered from using same. oh yes there is always lots of yuk fator and lots of fear hype supported by chapters of plagerised text. and for those who travel afar they need to take the precautions, bali belly has nought to do with grey water it will have lots to do with contaminated water, and amybe the use of black water in irrigation much like china does.
your choice to use it or not but support your idea with fact.
len fit and healthy after a decade of used water use.
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