Green Valley Floral
Green Valley Floral is a premium quality cut flower grower located in the Salinas Valley. To further push the limits of quality and productivity, Green Valley switched to growing some of its flowers hydroponically. Water quality and correct water chemistry became more important than ever.
One of the flower crops, roses, is grown in green houses which use mist systems for cooling. These mist systems were leaving an unsightly mineral residual on the roses. In order to purify the water of these mineral bicarbonates, reverse-osmosis was explored, but rejected due to the high capital and operating costs required. CWS designed a special type of water softening system, using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride as the regenerant.
Water softening, a type of ion-exchange, typically uses sodium chloride to restore the softening resin. With sodium chloride, the sodium ion is exchanged for the calcium and other positively charged ions. Sodium, however, can be potentially harmful to plants if the sodium builds up in the soil or hydroponic medium. This system uses potassium chloride in place of sodium, and potassium is exchanged into the water for the calcium and magnesium, making the water suitable for irrigation and plants.
As a final step, the pH of the water is lowered to 6.0 to prevent the formation of potassium bicarbonates. The result is a beautiful product quality at greatly reduced operating costs over reverse-osmosis, saving thousands of dollars in capital costs associated with the purchase of a reverse-osmosis system.