Water Treatment and Organic Cannabis
Disclaimer: This applies only in jurisdictions where it is legal to grow cannabis. Do not try this at home, if you live in an area where growing cannabis is illegal.
We are always looking for ways to leave less of a carbon footprint in the projects we are working on. Cultivators in the Cannabis world are no different. Growers have tried many ways to lessen the use of electricity, water, and waste. One of my favorite growing styles is Aquaponics because of the natural food source for the root system, and because there is no need for any chemical-based nutrients. Our goal is to increase nutrient bio-availability. Organic nutrients are closer to the forms of nutrients plants would be exposed to in the wild and are more readily absorbed by the plant, which, results in higher bio-availability.
Recycled Organic Living Soil (ROLS) is another great way to minimize your carbon footprint when growing cannabis. The “Just Add Water” concept lets you keep using your used soil without losing the beneficial micro-organisms and nutrients.
No matter which method you use to grow organically, your supply water is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Unless you have a steady stream of the perfect water flowing in your backyard, Reverse Osmosis (RO) will be a major component in any growing operation.
I hear the argument all the time that RO isn’t needed for cannabis. That it is a weed that has been growing on its own since the beginning of time. That is true; it has been growing on its own across the planet. The difference is the water being used isn’t the same as it was centuries ago, or even decades ago. For hundreds of years, we have been polluting our air, ground, and water supplies.
Reverse Osmosis is the best way to ensure the water you are feeding your plants is the highest quality that it can be. By stripping the water down to its basic H2O, and removing all the competing contaminates, you can build the water profile that fits the strands you are growing.
Waste from an RO system has always been a concern. The older RO’s used to waste gallons of water to make one good gallon. This remains true in the smaller system that would fit under your sink. When it comes to an RO system large enough to supply the needs for a grow, efficiency starts to become an option. Smaller “Under the Sink” and older RO systems can waste up to 4 gallons just to make 1 good gallon. With the large “Commercial” scaled systems that ratio is flipped, 1-gallon of waste for every 4-gallons of product water. That is a 75% recovery rate. Growers that are using a municipal water feed will see the savings immediately after installing.
What do we do with the 25% waste from the RO system? This where the race for a Zero Water Waste System begins. Over the years I have seen customers implement some pretty clever solutions for their waste. I have seen them run the building’s sinks and toilets with the concentrate water. They have run the wastewater to Evap Tanks, or very expensive Evaporations systems. In some applications, they were able to run the waste to outside irrigation systems for trees, and bushes... or you could have a US Water NullaVastum System. In Latin, Nulla means Zero and Vastum means Waste. So it's a Zero Waste System. That might get your attention.