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Implementing pesticide rinsate biobeds

Our pesticide rinsate biobed project has ended!

The project looked at how to implement biobeds to filter pesticide rinsate and recycle the effluent. The goal of this project is to limit the water contamination of chemical application and protect water resources.

biobed tanks
You can see in this photo that the second rinsate filter tank has healthy growth on top showing that the water is clean entering that tank.

Implementing Biobeds

The final report of our project was accepted, meaning that officially, the project is over and for the time being, it won’t receive funding.

While the funding of this project has ended, but we still have a lot of work to do on the extension portion of this project.

Soon, we’ll be able to have samples tested – something that was unavailable to us during COVID. One of our goals with this project was to test what was coming out of the biobed and ensure that it was clean. This would allow us to see which products were being filtered properly and which had issues.

Unfortunately, this project kicked off just before COVID started, which heavily limited our extension abilities.

We weren’t able to achieve all of our goals for the extension portion of this project, but we were able to collect enough information to distribute it! Since starting the project, we’ve received numerous calls from producers and industry adjacent groups, like greenhouses, interested in establishing biobeds.

This project drew the attention from many chemical applicators, all of them looking to reduce their impact on the environment around them. We’re still going to work with Southern Drip Irrigation, getting interested parties biobed kits to implement on their facilities.

Our time working with the biobed allowed us to come across opportunities that propelled their logistics forward.

Biobeds: Building for the future

One of the first challenges we encountered was getting power to the unit.

Puchinger works on biobed
Jamie Puchinger works on the biobed installation at Farming Smarter.

“When we initially set it up, we had an electrician come in and set up the power. With the pumps, and the way it was, if more than one pump was on it would trip the breaker. Then, the way the timers were set up, if the breaker tripped, the timers wouldn’t work anymore,” said Jamie Puchinger, Assistant Manager at Farming Smarter, and project lead with the pesticide rinsate biobeds.

“There was some fine tuning to be done. Now that we’ve managed it, it’s easier to explain so people don’t have that same issue,” she added.

Additionally, we added a roof above our operation to protect the biobeds from heavy rainfall. Due to the climate in southern Alberta, the few times we get rain it’s a lot in a short time. While there is a diversion valve on the biobed, forgetting to open it after heavy rainfall can flood your system.

biobed trailer
Farming Smarter built this demonstration biobed on a trailer, so that landowners could take it home and copy the system.

Establishing a biobed into your operations can be costly, both in time and money. If you’re interested but don’t feel confident taking the plunge, we have a mobile biobed operation at Farming Smarter!

While it’s non-operational, due to the logistics of hauling dirt, this mobile kit is a scaled-down version of the kit offered by Southern Drip Irrigation. It allows you to get a stronger understanding of the mechanics behind the biobed. Acting as a visual instruction manual, the mobile kit lets you see how you can tailor the biobed to your operations.

Give us a call!

To learn more about our pesticide rinsate biobed project, watch some of our videos!

If you’re looking to implement the biobed onto your farm, and want to learn more, reach out to us! To take a look at our mobile kit, contact Jamie!