Aluminum in Water

Asked March 22, 2018, 6:55 PM EDT

Hi, I have a well that has aluminum and can not use for drinking or house water. It is over twice the EPA limit of .02 (.0428 mg/L). I was wondering if I could use the water for my garden? I have read that aluminum can harm the roots of plants, but I don't know what level that would be. Also, would it be safe to eat berries watered with this level of aluminum in the water? Thanks for your help, Marianne

Oregon irrigation water quality

3 Responses

Hi Marianne,

That is a very uncommon problem to have in this state, but I'm glad that it was caught in a water test. Aluminum can be removed with reverse osmosis or an ion exchange system if you are ever looking for a back-up water supply. For irrigation purposes all of the studies I have been able to get my hands on do not show a production decrease of plants until levels close to 5ppm (mg/l) are reached. You are much much lower than that and shouldn't notice much of a difference in your gardening. That being said - so plants could be more sensitive, meaning if you have a failed planting, the aluminum could be part of the reason. The plants do uptake the water ion and may take up a small amount of the aluminum ion however not at a rate to worry about as far as health and food safety go. Most of the aluminum will stay in the soil. Over time the soil may become more unproductive, so it will be important to add organic matter like compost to help continue growing crops.

Thanks Chrissy...
I appreciate your help and quick response (the RO system would cost over $14,000 for the entire system so, that is not an option). I am trying to see if it can be filtered out, but that can get a little costly to...
Sounds like I should be ok and I will follow your follow your instructions to help keep things growing healthy!!
Thanks again,
Marianne

Marianne,

That price tag is pretty high for a whole home RO system, I'd encourage you to get another quote. For home use like drinking, teeth brushing, cooking, etc - there are small point of use RO systems that can be installed for a few hundred dollars. Mind you they may not reduce it a hundred percent, but will bring the level well below the EPA recommendations. Be very careful as you are looking for "filters" as most do not remove contaminates that are normally treated with RO. Good Luck!