Are there any farmers on the SDope who can answer this? We’re on well water and having a terrible time with various bugs and thorny weeds. How do farmers live with pesticides and herbicides AND protect their well water? (Also, what about animal run-off?)

Are there any natural remedies to these blights? Maybe I’ll replace my landscaping with plastic plants… :cool:

  • Jinx

All of that will depend on the depth of your well and the local geology.

To this I’d add that most areas require wells providing water for human consumption be placed at a depth where surface drainage and runoff isn’t an issue.

I would agree with both of the previous answers. Consider this, if you have well water, you also likely have a septic tank. One must be quite careful about the placement of both of these. Local zoning and regulations apply. Normally, wells will be placed so as to not be compromised. Regarding insecticide and herbicide use, I would recommend using specific plants and organics for pest control. I plant marigold in flower beds and sunflowers in the crops. They do a good job of keeping many destructive insects away. I don’t use herbicide either. I prefer the old way of removal, a hoe. (leave the jokes about my wife alone!)

A lot depends on whether[?] you have a drilled -cased wll or a dug well,

Dug wells are vulnerable to surface contamination and small animal life.

A drilled cased well usually brings in water from a nominal 50 ft depth[or more] and is often filtered through sub-surface limestone.

Also, a dug well can “go dry” at the damndest times!

Like on Thanksgiving day with a house full of company!

My lady-wife can tell you about that one!

For what it’s worth!


You also need to remeber that for pesticides and herbicides are generaly designed *not[/] to travel. That would be counterproductive. There’s no point having them where they are not applied. As a result the actual risk of contaminaiotion is rare to non-existent.

The most common garden herbicide these days is probably glyphosate. Glyphosate is a failry reactive and unstable chemical. Unless you live on one of those rare high sand, low clay soils it simply won’t be a source of contamination. Any contact with clay binds it up and neutralises it almost instantly.

Most pesticides are also bound to the soil in similar ways, although often not rapidly deactivated by it, and pose no risk of contaimination.
People usually have an overblown perception of the risk of chemcial contamination of this sort. Most cities draw their water form rivers that have flowed through agricultural land using the same or worse chemicals. The water is not filtered to remove them (although chlorination will neutralise some to some extent). It’s simply that the short lifespan, low toxixity and immobility of the chemicals used these days makes the water much safer than the chemicals you knowingly ingest in beer, cola and spices.

Pretty much what Blake said. I use herbicides to keep the area around our well clear of weeds and brush. The well is located in a pasture. It’s a 56 ft. deep dug well, and we’ve never had any contamination problems.

There is a cement cap on the well with a hole just big enough for the pipes, so no animal larger than a small insect can get in there.

I was raised on a dairy farm in Texas and there are a few stipulations concerning the well placement wrt the dairy barn to prevent coliform contamination of the water supply. Mostly, it had to be more than 200 ft. (I think) away from the barn and the barn had to be situated so that it drained in a different direction. We also had to have a catch pond for the barn runoff (it smelled real nice!), to filter the wastes before it flowed to the general landscape.

As far as pesticides and herbicides, we used plenty, many of which are now illegal (think agent orange), and never had any traces of them in our water (it was tested regularly in order to maintain our “grade A” certification.

As an aside, we had our well site “dowsed” before digging it, because all the neighbors (both of them!) insisted it was necessary. My dad did it just for the heck of it. Sure enough, there was plenty of water. We never had our well dry up, even during severe droughts, and a dairy uses copious amounts of water. A few years later, we rented a backhoe and dug a 20 foot deep pit in a pasture about 500 yards from the well, but in the same creek valley. The pit promptly filled up with water and we irrigated about 80 acres of pasture from it for the next 3 years without noticing a drop in the water level. Moral: any idiot can dowse water in a spring fed creek valley.

I’d have to agree with most .
Having spent time working for a local fertilizer plant I can tell you that extreme care is taken to protect against chemical pollution.
The days of counting glugs when mixing fertilizer or pesticides are gone.
If you are applying chemicals yourself just follow directions carefully.