Hazards of Farm Run-Offs

Living near a farm is a dream come true for many people. Few things are as charming as waking up in the morning to the peace, tranquility, and beauty that country living offers. But there is also a downside to living near a farm: pesticide-ridden rain run-off that can affect your drinking supply and your well-being.

Today, more than ever before, the bulk of farms in the United States use pesticides and fertilizers to help protect and grow their crops. Even many organic farms use pesticides and fertilizers, though they are organic in nature. One of the biggest causes of concern for those living in the country near farms as of late has been rainwater run-off contaminated with these pesticides and fertilizers.

When it rains, the rain runoff water picks up this agricultural waste and carries it deep below the earth to the groundwater supply. As it moves, it has the chance to pick up even more pollution along the way. In addition to being present in private wells, rain run-off water containing agricultural pollutants is also deposited in nearby ponds, lakes, coastal waters, and streams, causing a major environmental problem. In fact, agricultural run-off is the leading cause of water pollution in rivers and lakes.

Besides making you sick and possibly causing long-term and long-lasting diseases and illnesses, infected run-off water from farming is also particularly dangerous to infants. A federal report has even shown that drinking agricultural run-off contaminated water can lead to ‘blue baby syndrome,’ an oftentimes fatal condition, in very young infants. And, even if no lives are on the line, the agricultural run-off water often has a bad taste and a bad odor in drinking water.

Despite the risks, there is much that can be done to ensure the safety of your drinking water if you live near a farm. The first thing that you should do is be knowledgeable about the problem. You can’t protect yourself from contaminated water if you don’t know what exactly it is, where it is likely to occur, and what specific chemicals are commonly found. Furthermore, and building off of this, it is important that you are aware of the farming practices used by the farms near your home. Understand which chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and so on they use.

You can further protect yourself from contaminated runoff from farms in private wells by being careful with any and all water you consume. Consider purifying your water on a daily basis. Many people also add small amounts of fluorine or chlorine to their well water. Possibly the absolute best way to protect yourself from this problem is by having a health professional or toxicologist visit your home. They can help define the risk and set up ways to ensure your safety.

Run-off from farming polluting private wells is definitely becoming an increasingly large problem but it isn’t a problem that is out of control – yet. The best thing that you can do for now is to continue learning more about the problem, monitor your water supply, and take safe purification precautions even when you don’t think the water is contaminated. If you do these things, you will be able to keep your family healthy and happy.

Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of Cleantech Solutions, and an internationally-acclaimed blogger, journalist, consultant, advisor and ecopreneur. His areas of expertise includes waste management, renewable energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection, resource conservation and sustainable development.
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on salman@cleantechloops.com.

Latest posts by Salman Zafar (see all)

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

One thought on “Hazards of Farm Run-Offs

  1. Hi Salman,

    As some constructive criticism, I would agree broadly with what you say, though I would suggest putting some references in there, in relation to the statements you are making (e.g. a recent federal report – which one?). Without backing up your claims it comes across as alarmist opinion, rather than objective evidence based writing.

    On the federal report, blue baby syndrome is well known as has been for some time. It is due to very high levels of nitrate in water, which is not from pesticides as such but more so fertilisers (organic and otherwise) making their way to groundwater which is used in water supplies, affecting infants that are bottle fed. It is uncommon but is commonly accepted to be preventable if nitrates in water are maintained below 50mg/L (1).

    It is an interesting point to raise overall, though, since I can imagine the common belief in the freshness and purity of country living – things aren’t always what they seem.

    Regards,
    Marc Walker

    References
    1 Water-related diseases, Methaemoglobinemia. World Health Organisation, Water Sanitation Health. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/methaemoglob/en/

Your Thoughts