Can Sewage Water Be Used for Irrigation?

You’ll hear a lot about sewage water these days. Can I purify it? Can I drink it after purification? What happens if I drink it? Well, these are just a few among the various questions that you and millions of others keep asking.

However, one question that keeps coming up is can sewage water be used for irrigation. Well, the answer is that you can apply sewage water to a wide range of activities. And one of them is for irrigation.

So, are you wondering what this is all about? Well, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll answer in detail can sewage water be used for irrigation. We’ll also answer other related questions.

Let’s get right to it!

Can You Use Sewage Water For Irrigation?

Over the years, agricultural activities have seen a lot of wastewater and sewage water inflow. One of these uses is irrigation. Usually, this is due to the scarcity of water sweeping across the earth.

Yes, you can use sewage water for the irrigation of farmlands. Farmers across the world have come to prefer the use of sewage water to their plants.

This may be unconnected with the scarcity of water and the low cost of applying sewage water to farms. In both developed and developing countries, this practice is widespread among local farmers who face difficulty getting water.

Rural farmers specifically prefer sewage water because of their high-level nutrients, which may reduce or totally eliminate the cost of getting fertilizers for their plants.

However, people have realized concerns about the kind of sewage water that others should use for irrigations. Most farmers prefer to use untreated sewage water because of its very low cost. All that you might need is just its transportation to the point of use.

Ideally, treated sewage water is best for irrigation, but the high cost of treatment may affect its affordability by local farmers.

Is Sewage Water Good for Plants?

So, you’re wondering if it’s okay to use sewage water for plants. After all, it’s not even water you want to ideally come across.

Yes, we got you right there! Sewage water is absolutely suitable for all of your plants. Let us explain how.

For years, sewage water has proved beneficial to plants because it contains organic and inorganic nutrients. And thee nutrients include nitrogen and phosphate, which are very important for plant growth.

When you use sewage water in plants, there is a high tendency for an increase in the metabolic activities of the soil because of an enhanced soil microorganism.

However, just before you go ahead applying sewage water to your plants, there are things we need to distinguish for you. And, that is between treated and untreated sewage water.

Treated Sewage Water

As the name implies, treated sewage water has received treatment before it gets applied to your plants. This is the process whereby heavy metals, microorganisms, and various other contaminants in the sewage water gets purposefully removed. The most effective way of doing this is through the natural ecological approach.

In all sense, treated sewage water is what you should use for your plants for effective and optimal hygiene levels. However, the problem is that it costs a little more to treat and apply sewage water on plants.

Untreated Sewage Water

Relax, before you conclude that untreated sewage water is the worst thing that can happen to your plant, let us point out that it is just as good as treated sewage water.

Yes, you read that, right! Applying untreated sewage water give as much nutrient to your plants as anything else you can think of.

The only off track about untreated sewage water is that it contains more pathogens than treated sewage water. Then, if you operate your farm close to your home, it could come along with some stench.

The good thing, however, is that it comes at a very cheap cost, mostly, all you need to do is pump your sewage down to your farm.

Do Crops Get Affected by Sewage Water?

As we have pointed out, sewage water is excellent for your crops’ growth, but is there anything you should watch for a while applying it to your plants? Let us consider it together.

At first, there might be no risk attached to using sewage water for cropping. The truth is, when sewage water is applied, the soil can filter toxic chemicals and may absorb heavy metals from water waste.

However, as time passes, the soil’s capacity to act as a natural filter may decrease mostly due to the change in its PH or the continuous and substantial application of pollutants.

When this happens, the soil gets forced to release various heavy metals, and this gets sunk in by groundwater, which then goes up to the crops.

Also, experts have found that there might be some level of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCP) taken up by the crops on the farmland. However, it is still highly debatable whether the amount of PPCPs in plants is enough to pose any health risk.

However, if you are a farmer, it is best if you subscribe to the use of treated sewage water for your plants. This way, you can avoid these risks.

Is it Safe to Eat Vegetables Grown from Sewage Water?

You are probably wondering why you would move close to veggies grown in your bath or pool water on earth. Before you rule out the possibility, hear what we have to say.

Although your plants may contain some level of PPCPs that flush down your bathroom, it’s not all bad news. This is because experts have still highly favored the fact that the level of PPCPs in plants is ridiculously too low to pose a health risk.

So, it may be safe to eat vegetables grown from sewage water. However, you can’t actually know whether your plant was grown with treated or untreated water. As such, we advise that you abide by the highest alert level. Wash your vegetables thoroughly before you consume them.

How Can Sewage Water Be Reused?

By now, you should have read somewhere about the shocking statistics of water scarcity. As the figures go higher and the reality of climate change hits us, so does the need for more water for the use of basic things rise.

In this instance, the world is compelled to divert attention to other means. Well, sewage water is one of them.

Your sewage water is not totally a waste. Wondering how? Here you go!

  • It can be used for your farmland, especially where there is no easy access to clean water. It’s also a smart choice where there has been a ridiculously low amount of rain.
  • Asides, this, your treated sewage water, can also be used as drinking water. Before you scream your eyes out, let us quickly add that this has to undergo a very high level of treatment before it gets approved for safe drinking.
  • With your sewage, you can be saving yourself some cash if you reuse it as manure for your plants. The truth is, for many years, sewage has served as a natural nutrient for plants. So, you might want to cut the cost of your fertilizers and opt for that free sewage water.
  • If you have a fish pond, your fish might also thank you for the nutrients they can pick from the sewage water you diverted to their pond.

Can You Use Sprinklers with Sewage Water for Irrigation?

How else do you enjoy watching your plants grow than by using sprinklers to water them? Even if you are using sewage water, you can still make use of sprinklers.

Using sprinklers for sewage water is actually great for your plants, especially where

  • Power cost is low: If your farmland is in an area where the cost of electrical-powered irrigation is not pocket friendly, you can opt for the use of sprinklers. It just performs as much magic as a conventional irrigation system.
  • There has been a high volume of rain: At times, nature blesses us with enough rain that the only thing we need to bother ourselves about is just some little supplement. If it is the case that some amount of sewage water is necessary for a supplement, you can use a sprinkler.
  • Your farmland is an area of steep and rough topography: An area of steep or dough topography may require more attention. For an optimum result of watering your farm, it is advisable to use a sprinkler.

The good thing is that you can use sprinklers for all your crops and not worry about your water application efficiency.

However, you must be careful in your application. This way, you do not concentrate too much on a specific area and cause ponding.

In Conclusion

Before this post, you probably would not dare come near sewage water, let alone watch while it is applied to your vegetables and your other farm edibles. Well, look at you now. You are almost a pro.

You can now see that your sewage water is not totally useless and can help you in a lot of ways if you are a farmer, especially irrigation.

Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.