Livestock Runoff in Pond?

Spiro, OK(Zone 7a)

I'm thinking there's got to be a way to test my pond water for fecal contaminants. My pond is directly downstream from a pond that serves both cows (on one side) and horses (on the other). They have direct access, so there is every likelihood that the water is getting manure in it. Since I lost 95% of my garden last year to drought, I'm thinking that since that water is there and is free, if I could use it for irrigation, all might be right in the world. However, I sell my produce and obviously consume it as well, and safety is my first priority. Other farmers have told me they use pond water for irrigation, but between the livestock (e. coli) and the turtles (salmonella), I'm afraid I might poison anyone who eats my food! So does the extension office test water, or is there a home test I could do? Does anyone have experience with pond irrigation? Thanks!

Redwood City, CA

No experience with pond irrigation, but our well water is tested quarterly for contaminants. So I would Google well testing and you should be able to find somebody who can test the pond water. I agree that the last thing you want to do is poison somebody with e. coli or salmonella contamination!

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

Call your county extension. They are a great service.

Spiro, OK(Zone 7a)

Tried them today, but must have called during the lunch hour. Will try again later in the week.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

The state DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is generally the office that tests water. You may be able to have it done through your extension agent. I only know this because I'm acquainted with the person who has that position for the state of Georgia and we've had several discussions regarding water quality. We have a pond that is the outflow from our spring cistern. The cistern furnishes our house with water. I've never had it tested but we own the whole mountainside and no one is above us. That's not to say the water couldn't become contaminated but it's as pure as it gets without pasteurizing. I'd love to pump water from our pond to the garden. It would be costly to get that water a third of a mile up a mountainside.

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