I've got a ditch in my backyard that I believe was intended for stormwater drainage. It's about 2-3 feet deep so I imagine that there could be some percolation from the surrounding soil as well and not just run-off. As far as I can tell, the only run-off would be from my and my neighbor's yards, and none of us use any pesticides.

On the pros side, it seems like there must be decaying plant matter and other organic material, could my brownish ditch water be beneficial kind of like a compost tea, or is this more likely to be a disease vector?

On the cons side, I'm not sure how much things like airborne pollution into ditches are a factor. I've never heard of people avoiding using lake water for irrigation, etc and I'm not sure what about my ditch would make it any different.

Ultimately I'd like to avoid using city water to water my plants, but not at the expense of contaminating my soil.


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    Urban lead pollution can be a problem. Are houses in your area old enough to have lead based paint? Lead is NOT taken up readily by most plants, but I do remember thatthere are exceptions. The other main urban problem is asbestos from brake dust. Are you in a high traffic area? Of course there's always the possibility that your neighborhood was the site of a WWII Calutron, battery plant or benzene distillery. You should check out a bit of history of the area. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 6 at 0:32
  • @WayfaringStranger Thank you! I'm 99% certain that none of those conditions are met here. – Citizen Feb 6 at 22:27

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