testing water in a farm dam for safety

I’m organising a film shoot with a bunch of models in and around a small dam on a farm.

I not sure what folks in the US call this, if it’s the same as Aussies - a depression in the ground on a farm for farm animals to drink from, and to irrigate crops, usually fed by a creek or spring, perhaps built by a bulldozer. They are often muddy, can have brown water, and usually have reeds or grasses growing in them. A google image search for “farm dam” shows plenty of what I mean.

Growing up on a (inland) farm, swimming in dams was really common on hot days. My bro and I often swam in dams after school, as did all the local kids. I’ll never forget the day I trod on something weird, pulled it out, and it was a sheep skull… :frowning:

Anyhoo. We doing a shoot in and around a dam. it’s in a sheep paddock, pretty flat land, actually barely used by sheep (they drink from another creek in the same paddock).

We plan to wade thru it thoroughly first, to make sure there is nothing sharp or dangerous in there. I guess we should test the water, but it all seems a bit… pussy, ya know? When I was a kid…

How bad can spring fed water in a farm dam in a rural area BE?

If we did test, what are we testing for? Presumably, there are companies out there who can do it for us. They are going to err on the side of extreme caution, not want us to blame anything on them, and say, don’t swim in it.

Well, from your description, off the top of my head it could be a big muddy pond containing animal excrement, soil and animal pathogens, agricultural chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, vermin control poison, old paint, diesel), decaying animals, assorted invertebrate/microbial parasites, broken bottles, rusty sharp metal (barbed wire, tin cans, fishooks, veterinary syringes), snakes, and so on and so forth. Leptospirosis, septecemia, tetanus etc. could all potentially result from wading about in it.

Most likely it’s perfectly safe and harmless, of course, but if I was e.g. Will Smiths insurer I wouldn’t want him wading around in it without some very thorough screening, and possibly use of a stunt double.

Blue green algae would be your main concern, it’s commonly tested for in public dams there are plenty of standards out there.

For what it’s worth, we call them “tanks” in the States.

I’m sorry that I can’t help you with testing requirements though.

No we don’t…we call them “ponds.” Tanks are large metal vats set out for watering livestock. Ponds are dug into the ground with a bulldozer, and form behind dams that block streams or water runoff from fields…he’s talking about ponds, not tanks.

Actually, everyone I know around here (not a scientific sampling!) does call them tanks. Yes, the muddy pond things impounded by an earthen dam: tank. They call the metal or plastic ones ‘stock tanks’ (as in tanks for the livestock to drink out of). A pond is a natural body of water. These are not the end-all, be-all definitions, just the way my neighbors reference things. (I’m in Jefferson County, MO, but I’ve heard them called tanks in other parts of Missouri and Texas.) As for the OP, I don’t know…I’ve been in plenty of them with no known ill effect, but I can’t deny slaphead’s list of possible contaminants.

IMO, the biggest danger is mechanical – whatever nasty sharp pieces of old farm equipment might have landed in the pond. Even if you check, I hope your models have up-to-date tetanus shots.
Aside from that, and assuming you don’t find a bunch of decaying 55-gallon drums in the pond, there’s not likely to be anything that will do much damage from short-term skin contact, unless one of the models has a weird allergy. (Fertilizers won’t hurt the skin unless they’re full-strength; most pesticides will be OK at levels in a pond, especially if it’s really just a pasture; and nasty microorganisms can’t do anything on your skin). I would avoid putting any of the water in anyone’s mouth or nose, though, and use potable water to at least rinse off anything that was in the pond and will contact someone’s mouth.
I might try and arrange some kind of rinse or shower on site for the models, too.

I have to back this one. Dug out or not here it’s a pond or watering hole. Tanks are metal and above ground. I’m sure the term varies by area so I guess you can decide where you want the term to fall.

Well…no kidding?!! That’s something that I’ve never heard of before…odd how the language works sometime; and I grew up in Pettis, Benton, and Boone counties in Missouri myself…even spent critical growing up time on a farm fishing in our …pond:D

Heh…Harmonious Discord, first time my neighbor was saying something about Bubba’s tank, I thought he meant this thing. Metal and above ground, check. Turned out he was talking about something I’d have previously called a farm pond, like Sigene said. But I grew up in the city, so I just adopted the local usage.

in Ohio tanks are metal structures. If you call a pond a tank, what do you call a tank? For that matter, what do you call a pond?

If it’s a warm water pond I’d have it checked for brain eating amoebas of the Naegleria Fowleri variety. :eek: Wear nose plugs.