Cleanleach demonstration

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As part of its work to help develop the new European-funded Cleanleach leachate purification system, Salix River & Wetlands Services is attending the HTA’s Plant Health Conference at National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, York next week (Wednesday 17 February 2016).

The conference aims to clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities across plant health issues, bringing together nurseries, retailers, specifiers, landscapers, inspectors and regulators. The content will provide delegates with all they need to know in order to comply with plant health legislation and to safeguard the UK.

Anthea McIntrye, MEP, who has written a number of EU reports including “Technological Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture in the EU”, will provide the keynote address.

The Cleanleach system, which has been developed in Spain by IRTA, allows nurseries to treat and then recycle the leachates from their irrigation systems, making container plant production more sustainable.

Container plant production facilitates the agronomic management, transport and transplanting of plants used in gardening, landscaping and reforestation, but it also generates leachates that cannot be released into the environment because they contain high concentrates of nitrates and sometimes phosphates.

Cleanleach makes it possible to return these leachates into the irrigation system and take advantage of their nitrate and phosphate content as fertilizers.

The new technology combines slow horizontal sand filtering of leachates under the container area with constructed wetlands to transform the nitrates into nitrogen gas and render the phosphates less soluble.

In 2014, Salix constructed the UK’s first demonstration project for the Cleanleach system at its wetland and wildflower plant nursery in Norfolk and, on behalf of IRTA, is looking for feedback on the new system from UK nursery managers and growers.

David Holland, Technical Director for Salix, explains:

“In Europe, nurseries growing plants used in gardening, landscaping and reforestation take up over 127,000 hectares.

“The new Cleanleach natural treatment process offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional leachate management methods, making it possible to re-circulate the nutrients and irrigation water, and generating significant environmental improvements for the industry.

“We are attending the HTA’s Plant Health Conference to gather vital feedback from UK nursery managers and growers about water quality issues, the pros and cons of the new system and how it could improve the sustainability of their businesses.”

The principles of the Cleanleach concept are explained in this video