Adsorptive and biological removal of plant protection products from jointly collected discharge water in greenhouse horticulture

The ‘Adsorptive and biological removal of plant protection products from jointly collected discharge water in greenhouse horticulture’ project was recently launched. The project involves the development of a treatment strategy, based on adsorptive and biological principles, for the removal of plant protection products (PPPs) from water that is jointly collected in the greenhouse horticultural sector.

Removing PPPs from discharge water

Horticultural entrepreneurs will be investing heavily in the period ahead to meet their obligation to remove at least 95% of the PPPs from their discharge water. Collectives, in particular, are seeking sustainable, robust solutions that involve minimum maintenance and low operational costs.

The drinking water sector has for decades successfully applied adsorption to remove micropollutants, including PPPs, from pre-treated surface water, so as to supply drinking water of impeccable quality to clients. Biological treatment has long been used in the treatment of wastewater. Can this knowledge also be applied to the water discharged in greenhouse horticulture?

Are water technology processes applicable in horticulture?

This project will research a treatment concept for the removal of PPPs that is new to greenhouse horticulture and which is based on two processes: biological treatment and adsorption. The project aims to produce new knowledge about adsorption and degradation pathways for PPPs under different practice scenarios. It should clarify which bacteria/consortia are involved, and what their ideal growth conditions are. The research will also study the biological stability of this community over the long-term and how it responds to environmental fluctuations.

The project’s researchers will focus on the applicability in horticulture of physical/chemical and biological processes from water technology.

Promoting sustainability of the sectors

Besides its direct economic and safety benefits, the project will give the sectors a greener image and promote their sustainability in general.