When it comes to growing, permeate is the usable product water that comes from reverse osmosis filtration. As part of a system, it is differentiated by the presence of two other types of water, feed, or source water and effluent or wastewater.
In a typical grow operation, feed water is separated into permeate and effluent. Unless the effluent is being used for another purpose other than irrigating plants it is typically referred to as “drain water”, or water that goes down the drain.
Permeate water as a base formula for nutrient mixing is critical to commercial and industrial grow operations for several reasons. The biggest reason is standardizing high volume input.
Relying on tap or well water to be as consistent and effective as permeate is one of the biggest mistakes a new grow operation can make. Plants are sensitive to fluctuations in water quality and untreated sources can vary considerably over time, temperature and season.
Another reason using permeate water is critical for a healthy crop is scientific accuracy. Most nutrient formulas are calibrated using permeate.
When calibrating at scale, it is important to replicate specified conditions that best suit optimal growth. Unfiltered water can contain contaminants capable of hindering plant growth by preventing optimal absorption. The best possible growth outcome of the plant is a replicable nutrient formula mix, using pure permeate water as a base.