Supervisor Haaglanden:

"Time is of the essence for initiatives surrounding collective purification"

Doubtful, this is how supervisor Leo Buijing of the Environment Service Haaglanden in the Netherlands describes the silence surrounding the initiatives for collective water purification. In the near future, he hopes to engage in conversation with industry association Glastuinbouw Nederland, regional water authorities and the chairpersons of the 25 cooperatives in his region to create more clarity. “Within the next year and a half, everything needs to be arranged, including the infrastructure, requests, and testing. To summarize: time is of the essence.”


After the 150 horticultural companies that were checked on the enforcement of the purification duties in 2018, 40 visits are planned in the territory of the Environmental Service for this year. “Of course we would have rather had more, but so many companies – that are not part of a cooperative -  we simply don’t have in our territory, which besides the Westland also includes Pijnacker/Nootdorp and Leidschendam.”

At the end of 2017, many companies chose to become a part of a collective solution for the purification duties that went into effect on January 1st, 2018. “With two other colleagues, I intend to visit many cooperatives this month to hear about their progress regarding their plans. There is still the expected unclarity, for instance surrounding the sewage treatment facility in Hoek van Holland.”

'A year and a half is short notice'
His concerns mainly regard the areas where everything still needs to be installed. The due date of January 1st, 2021 is approaching rapidly: from the postponement of three years only half remains. “Which is not a lot of time if you consider that collective purification sometimes means that pipes for cultivation related water waste need to be placed, and application and assessment of the collective solution can take anywhere from half a year to a year.”

Buijing finds that more and more entrepreneurs start to realize this. ‘What do I do with my water’, is a question that is being asked more frequently. “Especially after the dry summer of 2018, in which many growers had to deal with a water shortage. The use of tap water, surface water or osmosis water, nothing is the be all end all for the companies. This results in growers choosing for their own purification. A grower of potted orchids, for instance, wants no more ‘outside’ water to be used in his company. To achieve this you need to make well thought out decisions.”

Added value
If growers choose to leave a cooperative and still want their own solution, then they can do this without being sanctioned. Especially in Pijnacker-Nootdorp he sees this happen a lot, but also in the Westland. “Of course the consequence of this is that the strength of the original cooperative decreases, sometimes by as much as 50 percent. However, entrepreneurs choose to cut their losses. In signed contracts, I also notice that they make use of companies with their own mobile purification more often. This way, when it is needed, they can still purify.”

Other than this, Buijing experiences that growers exchange more information with each other about the choices they made to meet the purification duty requirements. “This is a positive development and shows a level of transparency that would also be good for the cooperatives. Don’t wait it out, because the added value of a good cooperative has already been proven. Look at De Vlot in the Westland for instance, consisting of 65 entrepreneurs from Monster and ’s Gravenzande: the first results are positive.”

Source: Glastuinbouw Waterproof

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