NORTH East Water is leading a series of scientific trials that will see hydroponic lettuces grown with recycled water. Trial co-ordinator Ms Brooke Anderson said the project would involve growing 300 plants with three different water sources: class A water which is high-quality recycled water from waste water treatment, class C which is lower quality recycled water, and river water. “We are investigating the microbiological effects of growing the lettuces hydroponically with each of the three sources of water, and aiming to prove that our class A water is a safe and reliable source for the horticulture industry,” Ms Anderson said.
“The West Wodonga wastewater treatment plant produces the class A water in line with strict EPA (Environment Protection Authority) guidelines, and it is 100 per cent safe to use on fruit and vegetables for human consumption.” She said class A water was considered cleaner than river water because it was treated with chlorine. Along with testing the water being used in the tests, the lettuce will be tested for any bacteria or viruses that may have been transmitted to the plants from the water.
The eight-week trial involves North East Water, the Wodonga Institute of TAFE, Melbourne University and Yackandandah hydroponic producer Gnangara Premium Fresh and is funded through the Victorian Governments Water for Growth.