Keeping recycled water clean
If you are not yet using safe and controlled equipment to store your recycled water, now is the time to start. That’s the advice from Ben Geijtenbeek, Senior Crop Technical Specialist at Syngenta Flowers, based at Enkhuizen in the Netherlands.
Many growers in Europe recycle their water. When the concentration of negative elements becomes too high (sodium and chlorine are good examples), the water is simply drained off. But the cleanliness of recirculated water is high on the agenda within the European Union (EU) at present.
Ben believes the impact on the environment of this water could soon be subject to new EU regulations. He advises that unless action is taken now, growers could find themselves being judged by end consumers and customers on their environmental impact, as well as failing to meet future regulations.
He says, “To protect against diseases, your water needs to be disinfected and stored in a controlled system; that is, using safe and controlled storage equipment, such as outdoor basins or – better still – indoor tanks.”
Before taking these steps, Ben recommends consulting a specialist company in the field. That’s because the range of techniques you adopt, he says, should match your specific situation.
“Water from different sources can have different treatment requirements.”
This can include adjusting the pH and/or chemical composition, removing algae and other particles, and disinfection.
“Of course, we should recirculate nutrient solutions as well,” he adds.
Having access to a water supply of a sustainable high quality is vital to producing healthy crops. This contributes to having a higher percentage of saleable plants and by having fewer diseases reduces the need for chemicals. So in all cases, taking Ben’s advice will, ultimately, be profitable.
For now, Ben urges all growers to take the issue of recirculated water seriously.