Assessing Water Samples: Old School vs. New School

Treated and Non-treated Water Samples June 1, 2021

What changes do we see in the water parameters when it is treated with HCT WaterSOLV Products versus non- treated?

First off, every water is different so what you will see will be different.

In mineral deficient water, you’ll see a significant reduction in pH & increase in EC.

In moderately hard water you’ll see a moderate reduction in pH & increase in EC & TDS.

In hard water you’ll see a reduction in pH, slight reduction in alkalinity & increase in EC & TDS.

The significant changes are in the soil!

But what does this water change tell us? What does this indicate?

Old school: pH reduction fixes things, it releases bicarbonates and makes minerals more available for the plant to drink?

Correct, it does. But not forever.

But what about biology, sodium, available nutrition, pore space and oxygen, not just in the water but in the soil where the vegetation lives?

The acidified minerals and metals that do not get drank, if / when evaporated to dryness, become insoluble crystals the gradually cement our soils (UC Davis). If the soils are kept wet to prevent the evaporative salt crystallization, then the soils can begin to turn rancid, anoxic, anaerobic. Most acids used to lower pH leave behind N, NO3-N – which at high levels and acidified blocks the flow of oxygen and leaves behind S and SO4-S which is food source for toxic anaerobic bacteria (root rot, disease, hydrogen sulfide gas). S, SO4-S and Ca makes drywall, plaster of paris. Any accumulation of salts, metals or matter (i.e. bio), that hinder the availability of hydration, available nutrition and soil porosity, stifles the ability of vegetation to maximize its potential, and increases operational costs.

New school: Once the acid is added to disassociate the cations from the anions, modify the cations so that they no longer will re-complex with their counterparts, it can keep them isolated so that when they evaporate to dryness, they will re-hydrate and be available as nutrition.

Phase 1– Treatment of the water and for the remediation of the soils.

Phase 2 - Detoxify the sodium in the soil.

Phase 3 – Work to minimize the anaerobic conditions, anaerobic biology and toxins.

Phase 4 - Manage available oxygen with consideration to N level sin the water and the soil.

Doing this to soluble salts in water is easy for the right chemistry. Doing this to a soil is much more difficult as we are dealing with ages of evaporative salts from water as well as nutrient additives and accumulation of layers in the soil. We also have varying collection areas in the soils with different saturations, as well as layering beneath the soils based on historical maintenance activities. What we have seen the most of is calcium, iron and aluminum saturations in the soils hindering water, oxygen and nutrient permeation as well as availability and uptake, thereby harboring toxins - N, Na (super soluble – Zn as well) and Bio.

While water is important, the more significant reaction is obtained by the remediation of the soil, via the water. Soils are critical. If they were working, we’d not have issues. If they were working, we still have the viability of improving yields at a positive ROI. How? It’s a given! Water with TDS or EC, and water with nutrients, when evaporated to dryness, forms insoluble salts. These salts build up in soils. That’s what we have been doing using Saturated Paste Extracts to prescribe nutritional needs. Our soils have become toxically saturated. This is identified by NCRS/USDA. This is also validated by a UC Davis study with the use of sulfuric and gypsum. This is also a defect in the water analyses that prescribe sulfuric and gypsum from a water analysis without considering the conditions of the soils (ref; PNW 597-E • August 2007 - Managing Irrigation Water Quality for crop production in the Pacific Northwest A Pacific Northwest Extension publication - Oregon State University • University of Idaho • Washington State University)

In the soil analyses, what do we look at?

Lab water soil analysis – aka Saturated Paste Extract (SPe) – A report may indicate “available” and show we are deficient or low on X, Y and Z elements, so we add it. Yet if we do an exchangeable analysis (below), we see we have plenty of those X, Y and Z’s. WHY would we add more of what we already have in the soil? Why is it not being consumed by the plant? The answer is that because it is complexed by bicarbonate, or chloride or valance, or perhaps biology or perhaps physical pore space, or a matrix and any or all of these conditions.

The solution – liberate the complexes, all of them, break them down like in the methods below, react with them so they do not re-complex. Also, deal with the toxicity of sodium, the N blocking oxygen flow and bio toxicity and bio-films, add oxygen where necessary and maintain pore space.

Treated lab water soil analysis – indicates more of what is actually in the soil that the treated water will liberate. This is a BIG comparison but it’s also only a slight increase in what the soil has to offer when watering. We wish to manage this so that with each watering we are liberating the available nutrients from the soil – remediating the soils, harvesting bound nutrition.

Exchangeables – Ammonium Acetate Soil Analysis – a much more aggressive acid solution that will liberate even more from the soil to show you what is actually there but to make it available you’d have to something that is as aggressive as ammonium acetate and yet beneficial for the crop and fate of the soils.

Exchangeable - Mehlich III – It’s Mehlich III because Mehlich improved on Mehlich 1 and II. This solution used to digest the soil; acetic acid, ammonium fluoride, nitric, chelant, ammonium nitrate – Ref.

VSAO Extractions (HCl & H2O2) – HCT and its colleagues took it a step further finding that we liberated more than all other approaches mentioned here, and other solutions, utilizing the power of HCl and H2O2 combined. This method is currently being developed however similarly used for the detection of heavy metals (hmmmm – heavy and or highly insoluble like Ca, Fe and Al?). More on VSAO Comparisons ...

VSAO Extractions are where the rubber meets the road.

Moving Forward

As an industry, what has been done is adding fertilizer on top of fertilizer based on Saturated Paste Analysis using Lab Water. Additionally, we did not consider the environmental fate to the soil of the evaporated salts and saturations thereof accumulated in the soil. Additionally, the method did not account for the biology of water or soil. We simply relied on driving down the pH and adding calcium sulfate (gypsum) without any basis other than what a lab may have prescribed to reduce the alkalinity of the water.

This has exhibited that is not an effective strategy, there is no research supporting this, and there is research stating the negative outcomes that will likely occur and the chemistry involved – also without regard to the biology impact. We’ve clearly observed the exchangeables in our soils build and with minimum regard. We’ve not been stewards of maintaining infiltration rates, the impact of biology, pore space and