Water quality

For growing agricultural commodities, or RAC, there are no national or state water standards. The agricultural industry has decided, therefore, to use the EPA Recreational Water Standards as its minimum requirement.  For rinsing produce, however, there are water standards to follow. Rinsing should be done with potable (drinkable) water only. Rinsing produce with potable water is a simple way to reduce microbial populations on the surface of fresh fruits and vegetables. Repeated rinsing or multiple washes may be needed to thoroughly clean produce.

The Center for Produce Safety hosted “Top FAQs about Produce Wash Water Management for Small-Scale and Direct Market Farms,” a Webinar that provided “plain-language” science-based responses to common questions from small growers seeking to install or improve their wash systems. Trevor V. Suslow, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, covered a variety of challenges that should be considered when developing a wash water program.

The Water Data Interpreter web site can help you interpret the results of a routine domestic water analysis, performed by a certified drinking water analysis laboratory. The routine domestic water analysis tests for characteristics that could affect health and uses of water. Use your report to find the levels that correspond with the contaminants listed such as metals, sediment, or organic pollutants.