When it comes to growing cannabis, 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 cannabis 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 cannabis 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. Cannabis is 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 cannabis 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 cannabis 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.
Permeate is mineral-free, so scale damage to equipment, and even to entire buildings, is completely avoided. Systems that contain permeate water vs. untreated water are likely to last longer and operate at a higher level of efficiency.
Finally, troubleshooting and downtime are greatly minimized using permeate water. When something goes wrong, eliminating water quality as a variable is simply one step closer to the solution.