Which Water Source is Best For Irrigation of St Augustine Lawns


By Rick Orr 08/22/2017
Irrigation watering a St Augustine Lawn

Selecting a Water Source

Selecting a water source in Pinellas is determined by availability - you use what you got. However if you have choices, you should choose the best for the health of your lawn. In Pinellas we have four water sources for irrigation (ranked from best to worst): Reclaimed, Surface, Well and Potable.

Reclaimed Water: Water Reclaimed from Waste Water Treatment

Reclaimed water is biologically active and the best for a healthy lawn. Reclaimed water is a byproduct of biologically treating wastewater(composting). When wastewater is treated, solids sink to the bottom of the tank and the water is drained off (reclaimed) for irrigation use. Reclaimed water does receive some sterilization but not filtration. The physical and chemical properties of reclaim water are intact and biological activity will resume quickly after exposure to the air and soil (inoculation).

Surface Water: Ponds and Lakes

Surface water is also biologically active, however, lake biology is different than wastewater treatment biology. Surface water biology is great for fish and frogs but the turf and soil biology is more akin to wastewater treatment biology (composting). As good as surface water is for irrigation, it is still not as good as reclaimed water.

Well Water: Shallow and Deep Wells

Well water is biologically neutral. Since it comes from below ground there is no biological activity - well water is just wet. Well water can contain beneficial minerals such as iron and calcium or harmful salts and metals.

Potable Water: City Supplied Water

Potable water is biologically inactive and for good reason. All biological activity has been stopped for health reasons. And worse, there are chemicals added to potable water that prevent biological activity. When applied to a lawn, potable water is a mild sterilizer, preventing composting that is so necessary for healthy turf. Not only is potable water the worse water source, it is also the most expensive.

Stop Using Potable Water for Irrigation -  Not only is potable water the worse water for irrigation, it is also the most expensive source. The savings from switching from potable water to a well, will pay for the well in less than a year. Even though there is no shortage of reclaimed, surface or well water we have water restrictions. Why? The utilities failed to build enough potable water plants to supply all of Tampa Bay's drinking water needs. In an effort to reduce potable water usage, the Tampa Water Users (a regional water authority) restrict irrigation by all water sources in an vain attempt to reduce potable water usage. The better solution would be to outlaw the use of potable water for irrigation purposes and leave reclaimed, surface and well water unrestricted.


Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of Iloveturf.com, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control and a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The results of that work is a one of the top rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Spraying CLICK HERE

To learn more about APL Pest Control CLICK HERE

Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram for booking information.