Saniflo Sanicom 1 Meets Demanding Pumping Requirements for Commercial Hydroponics System

Case Study | January 2024
Mechanical plumbing and HVAC contractor Aubin Pelissie installs SFA Saniflo drain pump to meet required vertical evacuation height for Cannara Biotech’s commercial hydroponic system, including the requirement of safely discharging chemically treated water.

Problem

FARNHAM, QUEBEC — Hydroponic facilities provide a new market for contractors and manufacturers. With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, HVAC and plumbing industry professionals are finding new opportunities, from controlling CO2 content and humidity to water-pumping systems for treating and feeding the plants in these facilities. This was the case for Aubin Pelissier, a mechanical plumbing and HVAC contractor based in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, who completed a project for Cannara Biotech, a medical marijuana factory.

Cannara Biotech, headquartered in Montreal, purchased a 625,000-sq.-ft building on cannabis-zoned land in Farnham, Quebec, and expanded its operations by retrofitting the infrastructure into a state-of-the-art, pharma-like cannabis facility. The new facility enabled Cannara to produce better yields and larger harvests, allowing them to deliver premium products to its customers. Upon completion and at full capacity, Cannara produces over 100,000 kilograms (kg) of premium indoor cannabis and cannabis-infused products.

As part of its Phase 1 operation, Cannara required installing a water-pumping system to remove gray water from its cannabis production chambers. The company also needed a solution to remove harsh condensate from their current humidifying systems. Due to the specific requirements of the facility’s operations, the equipment had to incorporate low-level inlets to respect their gravity inlet slope with a very high vertical head.

Jean-Francois Bourque of Aubin Pelissier began searching for a solution: a pumping system that could efficiently meet the high demands of a commercial hydroponic system, including the requirement for safely discharging chemically treated water.

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Solution

While researching online, Bourque found SFA Saniflo Canada – the only pump company with an available product to meet the demanding requirements of cannabis and hydroponics facilities, including Cannara’s particular specifications. For example —

“Other manufacturers we researched did not provide low inlets or sufficient head at a high vertical lift,” says Bourque.

After determining the requirements for the pump system, SFA Saniflo Canada recommended the Sanicom 1, a simplex (single motor) drain pump, designed to move gray water away from demanding commercial applications.

“Our goal was to provide Cannara with an ideal solution for draining gray water from their cannabis production chambers by pumping the effluent up to the ceiling level,” explains Phil Warren, National Sales Manager for SFA Saniflo Canada.

Below are key features that make the Sanicom 1 an ideal pump for hydroponic systems:

  • Capable of handling high-temperatures and highly acidic liquids: The Sanicom 1 is capable of handling chemically treated hot water up to 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an appropriate solution for discharging the treatment and feeding wastewater from Cannara’s cannabis production systems.
  • Long pumping lengths and low-inlets: Ideal for hydroponic crop growing, the Sanicom 1 can move up to 2.75 gallons / 10.4 liters of fluid per minute. The Sanicom pumps offer low-level inlets that respect gravity inlet slopes and can accommodate a high evacuation height (vertical head) to remove gray water from production chambers. The Sanicom 1 can discharge gray water up to 25 feet vertically, 250 feet horizontally, or a combination of both.

“We used the Sanicom 1, as the low inlets on the pump are positioned close to the ground level,” explains Bourque. In addition, “the vertical evacuation height (head) of 53 feet and the number of life cycles at 1 million corresponded to our needs.”

  • Short cycling and fail-safe activation: The unit pumps the gray water upward or horizontally through a 1.5-inch diameter pipe (with gravity fall). Once the water is discharged and the water level in the container goes down, a pressure switch deactivates the unit until water enters the unit again. Additionally, the fail-proof sensing mechanism system for detecting the water level inside the Sanicom 1 consists of three pressure switches, each installed in its own internal dip tube. With three different switches, it is nearly impossible for the unit to fail to activate with incoming fluids. A normal operating cycle for a Sanicom pump can be as short as 4-6 seconds depending upon the discharge-pipe-run configuration; power consumption is therefore minimal. Most other pumps on the market use float switches, requiring longer cycling.

    Another reason why short cycling is beneficial is that hydroponic systems require a large quantity of running nutrient solution and water waste that should not become stagnant, as it could lead to mold and algae growth. Because of the nutrient-solution’s composition, solids like sand and silt will inevitably end up in the pump system. With a longer cycle, there’s a chance that the solids will get sucked up in the pump impeller or hung up on a float switch, causing the pump to burn out.

    With the short cycling of the Sanicom 1, the nutrient solution and wastewater are cycled at a much faster rate, at higher volumes. This keeps fluid moving, thereby eliminating the chance for buildup; i.e., those solids never really have a chance to settle and accumulate inside the pump.

To handle the condensate from Cannara’s existing humidifying system, Aubin Pelissier also installed a pair of Sanicubic® 1 simplex grinder systems to discharge the wastewater. The heavy-duty, 1-HP Sanicubic 1 can discharge gray water up to 36 feet vertically. Its four inlets can accommodate 1½-inch or 4-inch diameter pipes. The Sanicubic 1 is IP68-rated for possible submergence, thereby eliminating any potential water damage to the internal components. Furthermore, it comes equipped with an external control panel as well as a visual and audible alarm system.


Results

According to Bourque, SFA Saniflo Canada has been a key partner in solving a technical pumping problem and was the ideal solution for the cannabis industry.

“SFA Saniflo Canada’s regional sales manager was very knowledgeable and identified a pipe-sizing error that we were able to quickly resolve to the proper specifications for the vertical lift we were looking to achieve for this application,” explains Bourque.

“SFA Saniflo Canada and its sales agent helped us to verify that the Sanicom 1 met all our specifications and requirements,” he says.

“Ultimately, SFA Saniflo Canada was the only pump company on the market to meet the requirements of our client’s cannabis pharmaceutical facility.”

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ABOUT SANIFLO
SFA SANIFLO NORTH AMERICA – whose France-based parent company, SFA Group, originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage pumping systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. SFA Saniflo developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology 65 years ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 29 subsidiaries doing business in more than 70 countries and has sold more than eight million units worldwide since 1958. SFA Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the continent.

For more information, contact SFA Saniflo USA at 1-800-571-8191, or visit the website at Saniflo.com. To contact SFA Saniflo Canada, dial 1-800-363-5874, or visit Saniflo.ca.

For editorial assistance, contact Madelyn Young ([email protected]) c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 708-428-6385.


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Cannara required a water-pumping system to remove gray water from its cannabis production chambers, and a solution to remove harsh condensate from their current humidifying systems. Due to the specific requirements of the facility’s operations, the equipment had to incorporate low-level inlets to respect their gravity inlet slope with a very high vertical head.

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SFA Saniflo Canada was the only pump company with an available product to meet the demanding requirements of cannabis and hydroponics facilities, including Cannara’s particular specifications.

Download Lo-Res Image
Download Hi-Res Image

IImage Size: 4.5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 324 × 432; Hi-Res: 1350 x 1800 pixels)


After determining the requirements for the pump system, Cannara Biotech opted for the Sanicom 1, a simplex (single motor) drain pump designed to move gray water away from demanding commercial applications.

Download Lo-Res Image
Download Hi-Res Image

Image Size: 6″ wide x 4.5″ high
(Lo-Res: 432 × 324; Hi-Res: 1800 x 1350 pixels)


Cannara Biotech, headquartered in Montreal, purchased a 625,000-sq.-ft building on cannabis-zoned land in Farnham, Quebec, and expanded its operations by retrofitting the infrastructure into a state-of-the-art, pharma-like cannabis facility.

Download Lo-Res Image
Download Hi-Res Image

Image Size: 4.5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 324 × 432; Hi-Res: 1350 x 1800 pixels)

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