Ontario Government Rolls Out Streamlined Nutrient Feedwater Regs

Ontario has announced the Greenhouse Nutrient Feedwater Regulation. This new regulation, the government says, will streamline environmental compliance and will make it easier for greenhouse growers to comply with regulation regarding the disposal of greenhouse nutrient feedwater.

Many greenhouse operators use nutrient solutions to grow their produce. After reusing multiple times, operators sometimes must dispose of excess solution which can still contain nutrient value. This solution is referred to as “greenhouse nutrient feedwater” or GNF.

The new regulation is designed to reduce the costs and uncertainty of approvals, and promotes the reuse and recycling of greenhouse nutrient feedwater, while providing farmers with a low-cost source of nutrients to fertilize their crops. Using GNF will also decrease the draw on supplemental irrigation water drawn from lakes, rivers and wells.

This change was raised by the Open For Business Forum, a regular roundtable of agri-food experts convened to streamline regulations and promote a better business climate.

All options available to greenhouse operations under the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) or Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) / Environmental Protection Act (EPA) frameworks now include:

  • Reuse of nutrient feedwater in a greenhouse;
  • Application on land under NMA;
  • Application on land under Environmental Compliance Approval;
  • Treatment and discharge using a sewage works under Environmental Compliance Approval;
  • Disposal off-site by approved waste hauler to an approved waste disposal site; and
  • Discharge to sanitary sewer.

“Greenhouse vegetable growers need to have the option of managing nutrients that are excess to their greenhouse operation as field crop inputs rather than waste to be disposed of. By providing that option this new regulation protects the environment while helping the sector to remain viable in a very competitive global trade setting,” says Don Taylor, chairman of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.

Ontario’s greenhouse sector is growing and contributes over $1.5 billion in farm gate sales to the province’s economy.For more information on this regulation, follow this link.

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