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  1. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Contaminated water

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Lifeline, Jun 28, 2016.

    Can anyone tell me of a resource to look up what happens if a well gets contaminated by decomposing bodies? And how long the bacteria would last? I have tried to look it up but have not found specifics.

    Sorry for the unpalatable topic. Another google-search for the NSA to add to my watchlist.
     
  2. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have a lot of variables going on in that situation. Not all bacteria living on a human can survive under water. Plenty of them can and others will enter a more dormant state. How long the bodies are in the water will effect the situation. Once the bodies are removed (assuming they are) what other nutrients are in the water that can support bacterial growth.

    If we're talking about the real world and an old style well with a bucket on a crank, and the bodies have been in there long enough to really decompose, I wouldn't drink that water for years.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Arid climate, about 5 months. Not removed.
     
  4. Nidhogg

    Nidhogg Member

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    I'm not sure how helpful any of this be, but here's my two cents.

    Having a quick skim over this wiki page ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_risks_from_dead_bodies ) it appears that dead bodies would only be a massive issue en masse. The main issues would be caused by cadaverine and putrescine, which would only be toxic if multiple bodies were present. It also refers to the risks of infectious diarrhea, which I imagine would be very likely.

    Another point to consider with the bodies being submerged in water is that water slows down the decomposition process. This is partially due to the fact that fewer decomposing invertebrates have access to the body- assuming this is a freshwater well, most present invertebrates would likely only use the body as a resting site, and potentially a breeding site if part of the body is not submerged. These insects could also factor in how unhygienic the water is, or act as a secondary effect by spreading their own diseases to the local populace.
     
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  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Many bodies. But it seems to be rather a question of years than of months, which kinda was the whole point. Thanks. Sorry, I find this topic a bit stomach turning.
     
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    And what would happen to plant life around it? Any ideas? Crap! I am not a biologist, I don't even now which questions to ask! I'd guess roots would tend to go down deeper in this kind of environment, which might mean that they would draw water from all around the well and not from in. Any ideas?? :(
     
  7. Nidhogg

    Nidhogg Member

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    Well, it really depends how close the plant life is to the dead body.

    With a terrestrial dead body, during active decay you start to get something called a cadaver decomposition island. It's basically the result of decomposing fluids leaving the body and decomposing the surrounding plantlife. If the bodies are able to leak fluids onto nearby plants, then they could get decomposed.
     
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Ugh. Thanks for the term. Have to look that one up.

    A few metres. Think of a healthy grove, masoned well.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not following your logic here. Why would the roots go deeper?

    I would guess that the well would probably be substantially deeper than plant roots and that therefore the bodies in the well would have no effect on the plants around the well.
     
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  10. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another variable would be the water the well is providing access to. Some aquifers have a lot of water movement, others are more stagnant. Some wells tap into an underground stream or something very close to it, in which case I assume the contaminants would be less likely to concentrate, more likely to disperse.
     
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  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Okay, thanks for the brainstorming. Have to do some thinking, good tip @BayView , I didn't think about Aquifers.
     

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