Reclaimed Water Vs. Greywater (They're Different)

The city I live in (Edgewater, FL) has what I guess is a
system for recycled grey water.  It's used by thousands of people
every day on their lawns and gardens.  I have a connection am able
to use this, as well.  My question is, is this water suitable to use
for watering my vegetable garden and fruit trees and plants such as
strawberries, melons, etc?  I am very confused about this and cannot
seem to get an answer from someone I believe actually knows what
they are talking about.  Can you help me with this?  Thank you so
very much..


Hi-

What your city is distributing is not greywater. The proper term is
"reclaimed water." What it is is combined sewage effluent-greywater,
blackwater, whatever leaks in from improperly connected storm
drains-that has been treated to a tertiary level, disinfected, then
pressurized and sent out in its own pipe network.
I have mixed feelings about reclaimed water. The basic idea is sound
recycling. Humans are doing more of the work than nature, which costs
extra resources and has more impacts. (In a greywater system plants
and soil purify the water without the use of energy or chemicals).
The scary part is that there is no control-physical or by cultural
custom-to prevent used motor oil, nail polish remover, effluent from
Edgewater Plating Works, or what have you from been added to the
waste stream.
In our culture, the convention we are coming from is to put any solid
we don't want in the trash, any gas into the atmosphere, and any
liquid down the drain. This is gradually shifting towards an ethic of
source-seperation, reuse and recycling, but it will be a loooong time
before this has progressed far enough that I'd trust the effluent
from a city to be sufficiently toxin-free to put it on my vegatable
garden.
An additional concern is biological hazards. I'd expect the water to
be treated well enough and nuked with enough chlorine that nothing
survived, but if there is a breakdown in the treatment system and
water containing pathogens goes on your carrots, you have a direct
pathway for infection from there.
Take care,
Art

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