After labour and energy, water and fertilizers are the two largest inputs in any greenhouse operation. As fertilizer costs escalate and access to suitable irrigation water decreases, both in terms of quality and quantity, collection and re-use of nutrient-rich irrigation run-off becomes a more viable water management option. Factor in existing and emerging regulatory concerns and the practice of recycling irrigation solutions becomes even more appealing. However, these benefits can easily be outweighed by concerns over pathogen proliferation and accumulation of chemical contaminants (e.g. pesticides, growth regulators) via the collected run-off or contaminated source water.
A team of researchers from the University of Guelph, led by Dr. Mike Dixon and former NASA researcher Dr. Thomas Graham, have been conducting research in the treatment of nutrient solutions for the past 17 years. Their work, and others, has demonstrated the efficacy of using ultraviolet (UV) and ozone-based water remediation technologies for both pathogen and chemical contaminant control in greenhouse nutrient solutions. Further, they have shown that the synergistic effect of combining these technologies has tremendous potential.
The university research team, in collaboration with several commercial partners, is currently conducting a commercial field trial to evaluate UV, ozone, and advanced oxidation technologies for the remediation of greenhouse irrigation run-off water. The goal of this program is to empower growers, through the development of suitable technologies, to reduce water and fertilizer consumption, lower pathogen loads, and improve effluent quality when discharge to the environment is necessary.
Invitation to the public
The team is planning a demonstration and information session at Westland Greenhouses (Jordon, Ontario) on October 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm; the day before the Canadian Greenhouse Conference in Niagara Falls Ontario.
This trial is supported (equipment and services) by ACROBATic Controls, HortiMaX and Nature’s Green Way in partnership with funding from OMAFRA under the New Directions Research Program. The research team, along with their commercial partners, will provide an overview of the test systems and answer questions regarding the technologies under investigation.
As space is limited we ask those who are interested to sign up (RSVP), by e-mail to Dr. Thomas Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org There is no cost for this event.