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With commercial nursery and greenhouse operations in California under increasing regulatory pressure to eliminate pollution-causing irrigation runoff, locally based Pure-O-Tech Inc. introduced a water reclamation and treatment system that allows commercial growers to treat and safely recycle irrigation water for use on commercial growing stock.
Designed around the powerful anti-microbial properties of ozone, Pure-O-Tech's Profit Cycle Water Reclamation & Treatment System uses ozone and ultraviolet radiation, plus a proprietary array of pumps and filters, to destroy water-borne bacteria, viruses, molds, spores and fungi. The system also deactivates and removes pesticides and herbicides, although pesticide use in test facilities was reduced by 2540 percent due in part to increased plant vigor and pest resistance as a byproduct of the ozonation process.
Significantly, the Profit Cycle system does not remove or deactivate most fertilizers. As a result, Pure-O-Tech's nursery clients have reported not only significant reductions in the cost of water due to their recycling efforts, but a 40-50 percent savings in fertilizer costs as well.
In Vista, Calif., Altman Specialty Plants saved $129,356 in the first seven months after the installation of a 75 GPM (gallon per minute) Profit Cycle system at its 91-acre Bluebird Canyon facility. A similarly configured nursery without a reclamation system might be expected to generate 24 million or more gallons of pesticide and nitrate-laden irrigation runoff annually.
According to Federal and California State clean water statutes, it is illegal for nurseries and greenhouses to discharge contaminated irrigation or storm water runoff into storm drains, creeks, streams, ponds, lakes and other public bodies of water.
"We are very proud to bring a timely and cost-effective solution to California growers -- a solution that not only solves their regulatory problems, but also significantly reduces operating costs," said Ron Tesmer, Pure-O-Tech president and CEO.
"The nursery industry and water quality advocates have always been at odds," Tesmer said. "We've found a way for both sides to win. Commercial growers can finally become stewards of the environment, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes financial sense."
Pure-O-Tech will concentrate its early Profit Cycle sales effort in San Diego County, where regulatory pressure is extreme, in part due to lawsuits by private environmental groups seeking municipal enforcement of the Federal Clean Water Act.
The company will also target the central California community of Carpenteria, where 66 nurseries were recently served with cease and desist orders relating to irrigation and storm water runoff by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
"The capital expense (of the Profit Cycle system) was immediately resolved once we learned of the potential fines for polluting run-off," said Doug Mahlstedt, general manager and head grower at Rudvalis Orchids in Carlsbad, Calf. "When the entire cost of the system is less than an EPA fine or environmental group lawsuit, there really is no further issue."
Ozone is an important, naturally occurring component of Earth's upper atmosphere. It has been used commercially for decades as a powerful anti-microbial agent, and to render inert many types of undesirable inorganic and organic contaminants in wastewater.
Ozone breaks down quickly in water to form simple oxygen. No ozone is released during Pure-O-Tech's water reclamation process. The system does not contribute to air pollution and operates well within OSHA guidelines. No chemical storage, handling, safety or reporting requirements are required.