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Water Today Title October 25, 2021

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Update 2019/4/22

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By Cori Marshall

WaterToday has been looking at the changing medical and recreational cannabis market. Our focus is now on how water is treated for the cannabis cultivations, what are the methods being used and who are the players in that sector.

One company is Aclarus Ozone Water Systems, who specialize in treatment systems using ozone for a wide range of uses. WaterToday had the chance to talk with Adam Doran, VP Marketing & Sales, Aclarus Ozone Water Systems.

Aclarus was started in 2011 by cousins Adam and Michael Doran along with investors and began operations in 2012. Doran said that his cousin Michael had begun "working with ozone technology in Alberta in 2004," and he "joined him in 2009" after finishing his master’s degree. The company began out west and was relocated to the Peterborough area.

Doran explained that "ozone has been around for over a hundred and fifty years for water treatment." This method of water purification was mainly used in Europe, although "it has become more common in Canada," Doran said

"Ozone is made on site, you make it from the air you don't truck in or make chemicals, it is the strongest, fastest and most natural treatment."

Adam Doran, Aclarus Ozone Water Systems

Doran said that ozone treatment is "about three-thousand times faster than chlorine and three-hundred times stronger, but it breaks down into oxygen, no chemicals or by-products." Doran underlined that ozone "treats everything except healthy minerals, like calcium and magnesium." Ozone proves its worth as a primary treatment, useful from "disinfection, [to treating] iron, metals, and sulfur."

Ozone not only handles that aspect of water treatment it also "takes care of esthetics like colour, taste and smell," Doran said. He added, "it leaves a neutral, perfect fresh taste."

Aclarus has a residential line which is used to equip homes, cottages and First Nation communities. They also carry an industrial line that has been used for medical cannabis cultivation. Doran confirmed that Aclarus' systems are in six licenced producers (LP) presently and are "growing".

Doran said a benefit of using ozone water treatment in medical marijuana cultivation is that "when we use ozone the only thing left is dissolved oxygen, the roots are much healthier and they grow more robustly." He added that "you could leave ozone in the water and it is not going to impact the plant as a chemical or an acid would."

"The two-fold effect is that you purify the water coming in and with the same system you could leave ozone in the water to keep the pipes clean, and roots clean and disinfected."

Adam Doran, Aclarus Ozone Water Systems

Plants thrive with the oxygenated water and the treatment system, on top of that the ozone "removes rot, fungus, Pythium, and different contaminants that could ruin a crop," Doran highlighted. More importantly, ozone can be used at any stage of the growing process, "it can be applied directly to the plant without issue."

The hidden benefit of using this type of treatment system is its cost-effectiveness. Doran said that cultivators "end up saving money because they don't have to use as many chemicals [and] usually improve their crop production," due to the added oxygen and purified water.

Water consumption is also less using these systems. Doran said that cultivators "are recycling the wastewater on the hydroponics." He added, "they used to have to dump that down the drain, and then add different contaminants." Now cultivators "can capture it and reuse it, whatever the ratio, you will be saving a lot of water, and their [water] footprint comes down."

Another essential aspect to look at when looking at a water treatment system for your cannabis cultivation is cost. Doran said the price "is about the same or less as chemical treatment." He said that their systems have "a little higher up-front cost, but the operational costs are almost nil, a thousand litres is about five cents." This is on top of no chemical purchases, the systems consume low energy "and they run for years fully automated," Doran said.

Aclarus' systems are "typically for indoor" cultivation although Doran said they "could do outdoor in a mobile treatment system."

The capacity of the systems is tailored to the need of the cultivator. Doran said that "we can go as big as they like, the biggest we've done is two-thousand gallons a minute, and the smallest is one gallon a minute." He said that "for medical marijuana, you will typically be around ten to forty gallons a minute."

"With a lot of other systems you lose a lot of water, you have to waste water to make it. Which is counter intuitive. With our systems as soon as the water comes in, no matter how dirty it is we can treat it right away, we don't have to pre-treat it."

Adam Doran, Aclarus Ozone Water Systems

As we have seen, Aclarus has already installed their treatment systems in six LPs, we wanted to find out if the demand for this type of system was stable across the country or if there were particular regions where demand was higher than others. Doran said that they are seeing more demand in southern BC and western Ontario, "these are two really hot areas."

As in other aspects of the cannabis industry, we wanted to see if demand for their water systems was affected by the coming into force of the Cannabis Act. Doran said that they "saw a lot of build-up ahead of time, but there is a lot of hesitation in the industry." As far as Aclarus is concerned Doran said "as soon as October came around we started moving more units and doing more estimates."

"There was an immediate impact, economically, that we saw," Doran said, "there was a bigger interest in it, and also an interest in doing it right." It is impossible to say how long the demand will remain as high as it is, though it is positive to see that there is an interest in doing things in a way that protects the health of patients and customers as well as the plant. Time will tell how the industry develops and interacts with water


Cannabis Report

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