Phil Busey Agronomy
Consulting Inc.


Water tests

Water analysis is important for irrigation systems. We offer various tests including:

For example, the standard irrigation water test (W002) pH, Hardness, Conductivity, SAR, RSC, Adj SAR, pHc, Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, CO3, HCO3, Cl, Sulfur as sulfate, Salt concentration, and Boron. For an extra price this can be enhanced with a minor element test, for Manganese, Copper, Zinc and Aluminium. Effluent should also be tested for nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2), the W005 test package.

Well water in calcareous areas such as South Florida often has high total alkalinity due to very high bicarbonate. Less than 180 ppm would be suitable. Probable negative effects are foliar deposits, micronutrient unavailability, increasing pH level in soil, and difficulty of growing certain plants. There could be a problem in trying to stabilize and maintain nutrients in hydroponic solution.

Bicarbonate can be neutralized by acid injection into the irrigation water, but because the water is so highly buffered, it would require a very large amount of acid. An alternative to well water is to use surface water which in time will precipitate out the bicarbonate.

Water hardness due to high total dissolved solids may not be a direct problem for plants, but could result in scale buildup in pipes, valves, and filters, and could be a problem in microirrigation, hydroponics, and other precision irrigation methods.