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December 7, 2010
David Kuack

Eliminating water runoff
Joe Moore Jr., head grower at Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, N.J., is working on the installation of ozone water treatment systems. The goal of the company is to operate a complete water containment system that generates zero runoff. Moore is working with Paul Fisher at the University of Florida and Charlie Hayes at Advanced Treatment Technologies to develop the treatment system.

“The ozone treatment system is currently being used on the flood irrigation water,” Moore said. “All of our greenhouses are now set up to collect the runoff -- it’s just a matter of plumbing everything together. We have unlimited capacity in terms of the amount of water volume we can collect. We have installed two 15,000-gallon tanks for one range. There are two additional tanks that we can dedicate to another range if we need them. The water will eventually go through a biofilter and then be sent to a retention pond, which enables us to hold larger volumes of water. We get a decent amount of runoff during December, January and February when we are propagating.”

Moore said that Hayes has installed air bubblers in the retention pond. The bubblers blend the water in the pond from top to bottom and help to balance the activity in the pond, Moore said.

He said the recycled treated water will be used to irrigate finished plant material. He is currently using well water to irrigate propagated plant material. The company produces around 22 million vegetative liners annually.

“I’m not yet comfortable with using the recycled water for propagation,” he said. “The well water we are using for propagation is so clean that we are not treating it in any way.”

One ozone system has been set up to treat the runoff from a 315,000-square-foot greenhouse. Another system will be installed this winter to treat the water from another 300,000-square-foot range.

Moore said that he has been collecting data on the effects of ozone on the treated water including the impact on micronutrients and chemical residues and the kill rates on bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Moore said the recycled water will be treated twice using a biofilter system and ozone.

“The water will be treated with ozone before we send it into the filter system and then treated again before we reuse it.” 


For more
: Lucas Greenhouses, (856) 881-0234; www.lucasgreenhouses.com.


Lucas Greenhouses is installing ozone water treatment systems and will eventually be able to treat all of the irrigation runoff from more than 700,000 square feet of greenhouse space.
Photo courtesy of Lucas Greenhouses