Global Edition

STRI trials water treatment system

8.15am 27th May 2003 - Management Topics

With increasing pressures being placed on the availability of water, it is becoming more important than ever for greenkeepers and growers to be aware of the quality of water being applied through their irrigation systems, particularly in regard to pH, Carbonate, Bi-carbonate and Salt levels and the effects this has on the production of healthy turf or plants. In many places it is common to find both potable water and borehole water to have a high pH and high levels of dissolved salts. Unless treated to reduce pH levels and neutralise the effects of salts, use of this water can be detrimental to good growing practice.

Over the past decade, there has been an ever-increasing interest and usage of a process using sulphur dioxide for the effective adjustment of pH levels in irrigation water and soil, rather than the previous use of often hazardous and expensive acid injection systems. Until now, the benefits of Sulphur dioxide technology have been mostly restricted to the larger irrigation user. However, the introduction of Sweetwater’s ‘Mini’ sulphur dioxide generator system now makes the system available to those irrigating golf course greens and tees, sports fields, bowling greens, nurseries, garden centres and landscape areas.

The development of The Sweetwater ‘Mini’ provides both low initial investment and running costs, with a safer environment and more precise controls over pH levels than previously possible.

Designed as an ‘add-on’ to existing irrigation systems the ‘Mini’ Sweetwater Solution

Generator (SSG) simply links into the water extraction source, albeit a borehole, reservoir, or mains water storage tank.

Capable of operating at low pressures of between 4-15 psi (0.275-1.02 bar) the ‘Mini’ will modify the pH and neutralise both carbonates and bi-carbonates in up to 30,000 gals (136.5 Cubic Metres) of water per day.

The system was recently installed as part of the irrigation system at STRI. (The Sports Turf Research Institute) at Bingley and has been in operation almost continuously over the six week dry period through March and April.

Dave Moore, who is responsible for the management of the trials grounds, reports, “The irrigation water for the trials area is taken from a borehole, which is delivered at a pH of around 7.8. Our Sweetwater ‘Mini’ works totally automatically and brings the pH of the water down to the ideal range of between 6.2-6.5. Although it is early days, our expectation is to see a reduction in turf stress levels, possibly leading to a reduction of turf disease. Other benefits may come to light as we go forward.”

For the greenkeeper, constantly under pressure to increase quality, efficiency and output, use of sulphur dioxide dosing via the ‘Mini’ Sweetwater Solution Generator can bring about identifiable and valuable reductions in fertiliser usage, irrigation water requirements, disease and, above all, provides better quality turf and plants.

Hydroscape distributes the ‘Mini’ Sweetwater Solution Generator exclusively in the UK and Ireland. The company, who can provide a free scientific analysis of water and soil for prospective customers, to assess the suitability of the system, is located at: Water House, 10 Carvers Industrial Estate, Southampton Road, Ringwood, Hants BH24 2JS

Tel: 01425 476261 Fax: 01425 472380 E-mail:

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