(69) Use of Hypochlorous Acid for Treatment of Greenhouse Irrigation Water

in HortScience
Steven E. NewmanColorado State University, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1173

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Scaling from dissolved and suspended solids in irrigation water reduces the efficiency of greenhouse irrigation systems. Water deposits inside pipes reduce water flow and deposits may reduce the flow through irrigation emitters, often clogging them. If not properly maintained, the clogging of emitters requires constant maintenance. This results in considerable labor expense and/or emitter replacement. Scaling inside irrigation system pipes also has the potential to harbor plant pathogens from the resulting biofilms. Oxcide, a novel hypochlorous acid (HOCl) compound, is produced electrochemically by removing sodium and hydroxide from sodium hypochlorite. The elimination of sodium hydroxide from the product creates a nontoxic oxidizer. A system to inject Oxcide into irrigation water at a commercial Colorado greenhouse was installed to maintain irrigation efficiency of emitters and irrigation lines during Winter 2003. The oxidation reduction potential (ORP) was monitored and visual evaluations of irrigation equipment in the Oxcide treated zones compared to those zones not treated with Oxcide was conducted. During January through March, geranium stock plants were irrigated with water that maintained ORP levels at around 600 mV. Visual ratings of the irrigation emitters revealed that the injection of Oxcide in the irrigation water did reduce the level of deposition. Deposition on the main feed lines was so thick that they hindered the complete closure of existing valves. Treatment of the irrigation water Oxcide injection for six months successfully removed of the scale and deposits from the water line.

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