Strategy 2- Stop the Nitrate at the Source

The basic rules of pollution prevention include:  1) don't pollute and 2) stop the pollution at the source.  Why is this important?  Biological systems, like ours,  are extremely efficient at removing nitrate when the incoming concentration is high (e.g. > 75mg/L).   By stopping high levels of pollution at the edge of the farm,  we prevent dilution. Dilution leads to much higher volumes of water to be treated.   This is the fundamental problem removing pesticides.  Waterborne pesticides are very difficult to remove once they enter into a larger water body.  Better to stop the problem at the source.

Denitrification Rate vs concentration.pn

Install your reactor where Nitrate concentration is highest

In some areas,  there may be many smaller farms that send their runoff into a "community" ditch,  which eventually finds its way into a local river.  Our Salinas river watershed is a good example.  There are several reasons why it might make sense to place smaller bioreactors at each farm's entrance into the drainage ditch.

  1. Higher concentration of nitrate enables faster nitrate removal 

  2. The amount of water being treated is smaller- leading to a smaller footprint for our system

As you can see from the figure on the right,  the rate at which nitrate is removed can increase over 4X from 20 to 100 mg/L.