Water with high arsenic, will it effect a vegetable garden? #450894

Asked May 01, 2018, 2:07 PM EDT

Inquirer has had water tested and resulted in high arsenic, too high to use for cooking or drinking. Will a vegetable garden be impacted by use of same water with high arsenic level? does it depend on the level? should the soil be tested as well? can they change the soil to successfully grow a garden using the high arsenic irrigation water?

Humboldt County Nevada

Expert Response

Yes, depending on how high the arsenic level is you may see stunting of the plants. More stunting will occur if you have high arsenic in the soil also. I have attached a link to an article that will answer most of your questions. The key with the vegetable intake is increased in root vegetables, as they are more likely to take up the arsenic, but the levels will vary. Quoting the linked fact sheet "The amount of arsenic that accumulates in plant tissues is determined by several factors, including the type of plant, the portion of the plant that is to be eaten and soil types. In general, if concentrations of arsenic in soil and water are high, plant growth and yield are likely to be reduced, especially for fruits and leaves".

A soil test will provide you with more information to know if you have high levels in both areas and what the concern level may be. If the soil is high too then you could consider bringing soil in and doing raised bed gardening.

Wendy Hanson Mazet Replied May 02, 2018, 1:44 PM EDT

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