Ont. to allow land application of greenhouse feedwater

Spent nutrient solutions from Ontario’s commercial greenhouses will be made more easily available to crop growers for land application starting in 2015 under a new provincial regulatory framework.

Greenhouse growers in the province are already required by law to safely dispose of the greenhouse nutrient feedwater (GNF) after it’s been used, circulated and reused to its limit.

The province said its new Greenhouse Nutrient Feedwater Regulation, which takes effect Jan. 1, will help greenhouse growers “better comply with environmental standards by reducing the costs and uncertainty of approvals.”

The new rules, the province said, are meant to “promote the reuse, and facilitate the recycling of, greenhouse nutrient feedwater while providing farmers with a new source of nutrients to fertilize their crops.” GNF, once spent, still has nutrient value for certain crops.

The regulation, made under the province’s Nutrient Management Act, sets out the rules for managing GNF generated by a registered greenhouse, including rules on storage, transportation and land application.

The new regulation “will benefit local farmers by providing a new source of inexpensive nutrients that can reduce the need for expensive commercial fertilizers, and supplemental irrigation water that can replace water drawn from lakes, rivers and wells.”

“Need the option”

“Greenhouse vegetable growers need to have the option of managing nutrients that are excess to their greenhouse operation as field crop inputs rather than waste to be disposed of,” Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers chairman Don Taylor said in the province’s release Wednesday.

“By providing that option, this new regulation protects the environment while helping the sector to remain viable in a very competitive global trade setting.”

The regulation protects surface water, groundwater and soil by setting out a framework for managing, storing and land applying GNF. This framework requires:

The new regulation will require participating greenhouse operations to register, develop management strategies for storage where needed and get approval (environmental compiance approval, or ECA) for plans for land application.

The regulation will also require sampling of GNF and soil, and provides for training for famers, GNF handlers and crop advisers who work with the feedwater.

Where need be, greenhouse operators will also still be able to dispose of GNF through treatment and discharge using sewage works under an ECA; hand the GNF off to an approved waste hauler to transport to an approved waste disposal site; or discharge their GNF to a sanitary sewer. –– AGCanada.com Network

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