General Question

llewis's avatar

Is it safe to water vegetables with water that has a dead animal in it?

Asked by llewis (1457points) July 11th, 2010

We have a very slow well, so we water our garden from rain barrels. Something apparently crawled into one and drowned. I can’t get it out without emptying the barrel, which is full. The water smells horrible, but if it’s safe I don’t want to waste it. Thanks for helping!

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22 Answers

syz's avatar

Why not be safe and just use it on the ornamentals? (And some screening material should take care of that problem for the future.)

cazzie's avatar

I wouldn’t drink the water, but it’s probably safe to use on plants. In the old days, they used to bury dead livestock in the veg plots to feed the soil. Bury the old horse and then plant the corn and tomatoes on the top of it.

ragingloli's avatar

If it already stinks then you can assume that it is not ok. Consider it toxic, pour it away.

filmfann's avatar

Definitly NOT safe. Why risk your health, and the health of friends and family?
Dump it!

john65pennington's avatar

I just know this is a joke question, right? if you like living and breathing, the anwer is no.

downtide's avatar

No it’s not safe to use for anything.

laureth's avatar

If you can guarantee that none of it splashes on vegetables that you plan to eat in the near future, it’s probably OK – I mean, what’s compost and humus but dead, decomposing organic matter? But if there’s a chance you might ever ingest it, no way.

judochop's avatar

Just as you do not throw pieces of steak in to a compost pile you do not water your garden with decomposing, meat water.

cazzie's avatar

I thought the meat in a compost pile was only because of flies and maggots.

laureth's avatar

I’m with Cazzie on this. It attracts skunks and flies.

BoBo1946's avatar

@john65pennington loll.. :))))

Answering the question: No, don’t drink it, but use it on your plants!

eyeDani's avatar

I wouldn’t but I think you can use it on your plants, I think it might have good nutrients. When I say I wouldn’t, I mean I wouldn’t drink it! :)

llewis's avatar

Thanks for all the answers! Unfortunately, not a joke question. We had screening, but it floated off when the barrel overflowed one time, and I haven’t found it yet. I need to rig something new.

Water is scarce enough here that I don’t water ornamental plants – they either live or they don’t. I think I will just use it on things that I’m not eating directly – like on the tomatoes, but not the spinach – and wash the tomatoes carefully before eating them! And hopefully I’ll get it down to where I can clean it out soon (never wanted to run out of water before!).

Thanks again!

daytonamisticrip's avatar

no its not safe the water will be infested with bacteria and parasites feasting on the body
but you can water plants with it and if you boil it for 10 minutes it should be fine

daytonamisticrip's avatar

its common sense and i do a lot of studying on bacteria and parasites and viruses

laureth's avatar

All of nature is infested with bacteria and parasites.

cazzie's avatar

@daytonamisticrip They’re not drinking the water, they just need to pour it on the soil around some plants. If the soil was sterile around the plants, the plants wouldn’t grow. Fish the carcass out as soon as you can and bury it to help fertilize your veggies even more. Nature is messy. If they’re really scared, boiling it in a pot outside and letting it cool seems a good suggestion.

llewis's avatar

UPDATE: Well, I chickened out and drained the rain barrel. No dead animal, just a lot of sludge from the roof. Not sure why it smelled so bad and foamed up – maybe bird poop? <sigh> So I wasted a lot of good water, but at least I can now take it to a car wash and wash it out and have water that doesn’t smell like sewage. And when I moved the barrel I was able to find the screen for the hole, so I will hopefully not have to wonder about this problem again!

Thanks again for all the input – I really appreciated everyone’s advice and opinions!

BoBo1946's avatar

@llewis great…thank you for the update!

flo's avatar

It is organic, so it doesn’t sound bad to me. I am thinking there are dead animals in the soil anyway naturally. I am just guessing though.

laureth's avatar

Didn’t some of the corn-planting native Americans bury a dead fish with the corn seed to fertilize it as it grew?

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