Salt in well

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mom in oklahoma, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. mom in oklahoma

    mom in oklahoma Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2003
    Hi all,
    We DH and I along with our three children(two ds 4 months, 7yrs ,dd 4yrs) just bought a house with 2.7 acres :dance: it is on city water, the house also has a well. The well has salt in the water, will it be ok to water the garden with it? what about washing clothes? :shrug: The house also has a pond that needs to be deeper( it dries up every year).
    Thanks for any info.
  2. Micahn

    Micahn Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    Ocklawaha, Florida
    I would say it depends on just how much salt is in it. To much salt can kill just about anything including humans.
    As far as washing, It should work ok but I would say it would be hard on the cloths.

    You can filter the water out. On ships and now days even smaller boats they make fresh water out of salt water all the time. The thing is it takes a reverse osmosis system to do it.
    Here are some links to the type of systems you would need
    You can get this type of system a lot of places now days. Chances are your local home improvement store would have one as well.
    Here is how it works

  3. Jessikate

    Jessikate Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Colorado, West of the Continental Divide
    from looking at your location - Oklahoma - and as a reasonably well informed hydrologist, Your well may be "salty" simply because it is too shallow and not tapping into an aquifer, but instead relying on water that slowly rises from an aquifer or seeps into the ground from anther source, gathering all of the deposits made by hundreds of thousands of years of of saline waters.

    On Western side of the Rockies the same problem is experienced by many people and they use RO systems as was suggested by another poster (RO = Reverse Osmosis).

    To answer your question about the garden, I would not suggest it if it is to salty to be drinkable, then it is too salty for your plants. Also, it will not be good for your soil, as the water will seep into the ground and the salts, potasium, sodium compunds and other hard minerals will stay on top of the soil, making it inhospitable for plants, and very hard to amend once the damage is done.

    If you take a look on the side of the road in a lot of the Soutwestern U.S. you will see areas in the depressions of ground that are completely white, with no plant life. This is due to waters that have flooded, via rainfall directly or floodwater runnoff carrying soluble "salts", and as the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind. These minerals, usualy potasium and sodium dirivatives are good for nature in small amounts, but in large doses are killers.

    If you have a Culligan near you, they will test the water for free - testing for heavy metals, nitrates and PH. Of course, they will want to sell you a wate treatment system, probably a RO system, and that should run you around $1000 for the whole system. This system will have to be maintained, depending on the quality of your water, once to four times a yeat at about $50 a filter change.

    My advice - have the water tested, and if you can afford it, put in a system so you are not completely dependant on municipal water.

    just my .02
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    As a reasonalby well-informed soil scientist, I would want the water tested for at least the following parameters: sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, pH, and electrical conductivity. With these concentrations, I could calulate the water's "sodium adsorption ratio" and" exchangeable sodium percentage." PM me with the water analysis and I can give you a recommendation for irrigation. Chances are the water is acceptable for watering your plants, you'll just have to over-apply the water on occassion to leach out any build up of salts in the soil. If you feel like you have extra $$ for analysis, you might want to include chloride, boron, carbonates and bicarbonates to the list above.

    BTW, I teach a 3-day course on irrigation of municipal and industrial wastewaters. Wastewaters have a considerable amount of salt in them espeically if the residents in the city use water softeners or the wastewater is from a corn/pea packing plant. I often review the analyses from these facilities and make recommendations regarding the acceptability of the water for irrigation.