Sourcing Water & Analysis
Similar to how we filter our drinking water to remove the things we don’t want in it, the same is true for plants. Historically, because cultivators didn’t understand what was in their water they used reverse osmosis to strip it almost completely and start from a blank slate to build a water “recipe.” We now understand that such extreme (and costly) measures aren’t really necessary and instead, have adopted a more scientific approach to water treatment that relies on source water analysis to dictate protocol. By only removing from the source water what is necessary, large-scale cultivations may see significant annual cost savings over historical methods.
Unsurprisingly, the water in Las Vegas is different from the water in Denver which is different from the water in Los Angeles—but different how? That’s where chemical analysis comes in. By conducting a chemical water analysis unique to each cultivation, we are able to fully understand what exactly the water coming into the facility contains. Combined with what we know the Cannabis plant needs to thrive, we are able to customize a water treatment plan to remove the undesired components that may pose a threat to the crop while supplementing with desired additives. This tactical approach is not only more economical, it doesn’t compromise the reliability of the system.
Water Treatment Process
Using water right out of the spigot for your Cannabis crops may be limiting their yields and reducing your profits. In many areas around the country, untreated source water may contain undesirable dissolved salts, which can limit the essential nutrients you can supply to your plants. Another concern with unregulated source water is temperature variation. Less than optimal temperatures can hinder the growth of your plants.
Oftentimes, excessive dissolved salts can be found in untreated source water. While some salts are necessary for proper Cannabis growth, excessive salts may be toxic for your Cannabis crop. Similarly, water that is too cold will limit the plants rate of metabolism and growth. To resolve these issues, urban-gro’s team of Cultivation Technologists analyze many aspects of your source water and develop a cost-effective pretreatment solution. Large-scale on demand tempering systems (possibly including carbon filter and/or high efficiency reverse osmosis) provide you with clean water that can be used for fertilizer injection.
Water Treatment Products
Water Tempering Systems
Tempered water blending systems generally consist of three major components: a hot water storage tank, a heater, and a blending valve. Additionally, a booster pump is often specified where water pressure might be too low to run multiple pieces of emergency equipment at peak demand.
urban-gro designs custom biological wastewater treatment systems to reduce the levels of salts and BODs before emission to the sewer.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse Osmosis is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts) are removed from a solution (such as water). This is accomplished by facility water pressure pushing the water through a semipermeable membrane.
Wastewater Treatment Process
Amended in 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) is the Federal legislation regulating, among other things, the treatment of wastewater. Just as runoff from America’s homes and farms yield high levels of nutrient salts and biological oxygen demand (BOD), wastewater from commercial Cannabis cultivation that flows into the municipal and regional sanitary sewers must not exceed certain limits of fertilizer salts and BOD as set by state and municipal governments. At urban-gro, we customize wastewater treatment plans to devise the most effective and economical program.
In a recirculating (recirc) system, the runoff or excess water leftover after an irrigation is collected in a reservoir, sterilized, re-balanced with nutrients, topped off, and then sent back out to irrigate on the next round.
In a recycle system, the discharged solution is collected, stripped of all nutrients, and then used as fresh water again.
Water sanitation plays a critical role in every cultivation because when irrigating crops, it’s important to know that the solution is disease-free. Suppose one plant is sick, when the post-irrigation runoff is collected that plant deposits microbes that are sent back to the central system. If left untreated and sent back out, the disease may leech through multiple root zones throughout the facility. Think of it like the entire office sharing one glass of water—someone is always going to be sick.
At urban-gro, we employ a combination of tactics to combat the spread of disease. One approach involves water running through tubes with high-intensity UV lamps in the center. As the water flows through the tubes, the light kills the microbes present. Good microbes are then added back in before the water is reused. Alternately, ozone (O3) may be used to oxidize the water which is also effective at killing microbes.