While container plant production facilitates the agronomic management, transport and transplanting of plants used in gardening, landscaping and reforestation, 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.
Last year, Salix constructed the UK's first demonstration project for the Cleanleach sytem 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.
Salix technical officer David Holland said: "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 holding a Cleanleach Focus Group event 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 event will be hosted by Holland and Albert Sorolla, technical director of Spanish project partner Naturalea. Salix will pay the travel expenses of delegates and provide refreshments.
For more information visit www.salixrw.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org