Aquaponics Application

Purewater Aquaponics LLC

Owner: Teresa Johnson

23697 N. Cottage Road
Lake Zurich, IL 60047
Lake County

daytime phone: (847) 807-9589
evening phone: (224) 677-5398

Application Date: 2016-11-02

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
To give our customers an assurance that we produce our products in a way that goes above and beyond what large producers are able to do.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
While attending a class

General Information

Please check all crops you grow in your aquaponic system. *

Please specify what other crops (if any).
edible flowers
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please specify what other markets (if any).

System Design and Management

Please indicate what type of system you use (for hybrid systems, check all that apply): *

If you indicated you use an "other" system type, please specify what other type of system you use here.
If you use wicking beds, describe how the water his handled after it is used in the wicking beds. Does this water recirculate? If not, how is it disposed of?
What materials are used for root support, growing media, tubing and pipes, tanks, troughs, and other materials that come into direct contact with system water? (check all that apply) *

Are there any other materials you use in your system that are not listed above? If so, please indicate them here.
If you use soil or compost in your system, where is it used? Is it used only in the dead-end portion, or also in in the recirculating sections of the system?
If you use compressed grow plugs, what is (are) the product/s name/s? Have you been able to confirm with the supplier that it/they do not contain synthetic nutrients?
If your system contains cement, does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how cement is a part of your system.
If you use wood in your system, is it treated wood? Does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how wood is a part of your system.
We use it under the liners to give support. It does not come into contact with the water
If your system includes IBC totes purchased used, have you been able to confirm with your supplier that they were used only for food grade uses? If so, how have you confirmed this? If not, how do you intend to confirm this?
Please note that while IBC totes can be grandfathered in when they're in already in use at the time CNG certification is sought, CNG standards prohibit the introduction of IBC totes once CNG status is obtained. Please indicate that you understand this restriction on IBC totes by checking the box here. *
Does water circulate at a rate sufficient so that the water volume of the fish tanks(s) recirculates each hour? If it recirculates at a lower rate, please explain. *
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate aeration. *
The addition of ceramic air stones into each tank
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate degassing. *
Tank tops are open - the gases are expelled by an exhaust fan vented to the outside
Does your system include any of the following: roofing materials, recycled plastics, or plastics that contain BPA? *

Water Sources

CNG standards vary according to water source. Please indicate below ALL water sources you use for your aquaponic system, and answer the corresponding questions.
Do you use Municipal water? *
Do you use well water? *
What are the ground water contaminants of concern in your region? *
No, however we still invest in having our water tested every two years by an outside laboratory
What experts did you consult to determine contaminants of concern? *
Well and laboratory experts
Have you tested your well within the past year, and if so, what were the results? *
Yes - the water is within acceptable standards (200 different test results): total Coliform and E. coli were ABSENT in the sample. Hardness, total dissolved solids were noted, though our water softener helps in filtering those to a better level.
Are you willing to start testing annually? *
Yes - normally we test every two years
Do you treat or filter the water before adding it to the system? If so, what methods are used? *
Water softener
Do you use rainwater? *
Do you use surface water? *
If you use a water source that is not named here, please elaborate.

Water Quality: Nutrients, pH, solids

How do you ensure a good match between stocking density and crop production? *
Testing the water daily - pH and DO Testing the water weekly - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate If any of the tests are showing signs of extremes or depletion we would adjust to correct.
Please describe how you design and operate your system to provide biofiltration that corresponds to production of fish waste and crops. *
Fish tanks, solid separator, bio-filter, sand filter, pumped up to grow beds, gravity brings water back down, UV light, bio-filter again, back to the fish tanks
Do you ever add supplemental nutrients? If so, what materials or products have you used? List ingredients and product names. How much of these do you use? How frequently? *
Do you use worms in your system? *
What materials do you use to buffer pH? *
Citric acid to lower Potassium Hydroxide to raise
What methods do you use to prevent the build up of waste solids in your system? *
Solid separator is emptied and rinsed out every few days
Please indicate how often you monitor each of the following:
pH? *
twice daily
Temperature? *
twice daily
Dissolved oxygen? *
twice daily
Ammonia? *
Nitrites? *
Nitrates? *
Use this space if you'd like to share additional information about your water quality and monitoring practices.
We test for calcium, potassium, phosphates, dissolved solids, hardness, and iron monthly

Seeds, Transplants, and Crop Health

Do you grow some or all of your own transplants? *
Do you purchase some or all of your transplants? *
Describe your primary insect pest challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual pest challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
Fungus gnats, thrips - we use a wet/dry vac as often as once a day to control adult insects and mosquito dunk as needed to control larva (Mosquito dunks are a registered trademark of Summit Chemical Co. The EPA Registration is No. 6218-47. The active ingredients are: Bacillus thuringlensis subspecies israelensis solids, spores and insecticidal toxins (Aedes aegypti mosquito) - "For Organic Production" per the label.)
Describe your primary plant disease challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual disease challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
We have seen root rot in some plants that have stayed in the beds too long - other problems have been caused by thrips, which we have so far been able to control with manual methods and removing any plants that may get infested. In the past we tried Neem and natural soap, but they were not as successful as we had hoped - manual control (so far) has been the most effective.
CNG certification requires the use of certified organic or Certified Naturally Grown seeds whenever available. Please indicate the suppliers from which you source - or will source - your seeds if your application is accepted and you continue the certification process. *
Johnny's seed, Botanical and Seed Savers.
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you understand that CNG strictly prohibits the use of chemically treated or GMO seeds. *
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you will as a general rule purchase organically grown seeds, AND that you will only purchase conventional seed when the variety you wish to grow is not available in certified organic or CNG form. For each variety purchased in conventional form, you will identify (and keep records of) at least three commercial organic seed suppliers who do not carry that variety. *

Fish Management

We do not offer certification for fish, but do set some limited standards for fish management where they might affect the produce and or quality of life for the fish.
Does hormonal sex reversal treatment ever occur on-line / within the recirculating system? *
Please describe the practices you use to prevent and treat fish disease.
Salt treatments and quarantine when needed
Have you ever found it necessary to use antibiotics? *
Please describe what kind of fish feed you use. Is it organically grown? (For aquaponic produce certification CNG standards do not require that the feed be organically grown, but we are interested to know what producers are using and to give credit to any producers who may be using organic feed) *
fish pellets formulated for yellow perch
Do you use black soldier fly larvae or duckweed as supplemental feed? *
Do you use any supplemental feed besides BSF larvae or duckweed? If so, describe it here, and indicate how you protect against contamination of your system. *

Protecting Against Contamination

Is your operation partially or entirely INdoors? *
What are the nearby land uses? Are there any that might pose risks of contamination? *
residential at this time - near future (spring 2017) to move to a rural piece of property (unimproved property to the south & east, north is a road and 3-acre farmstead with horses) - no risk of contamination
How does your ventilation and air filtration system prevent possible contamination? *
Exhaust fan disperal and recirculation air system
Do you share space (including fish tank, seedling starting, or plant production space) with other producers? *
Is your operation partially or entirely OUTdoors? *

Waste & Energy

These questions will not determine certification status, but are intended to encourage producers to review our recommendations in these areas and to give credit to producers who have made investments in the sustainability of their operation.
How do you dispose of fish solid wastes? *
There are two ways - depending on the time of year - during the spring, summer and fall we capture it and diaper it into our gardens In the winter it is discharged into the sewer system
When necessary during system change over, how do you dispose of nutrient-rich water? *
We would capture it
What measures have you taken to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency, and/or use energy from renewable sources? (This could include system design, siting, insulation, crop and fish species selection, and more.)
The one pump and all the air blowers are energy efficient - the air circulation is done by an energy efficient heat pump - walls are insulate with energy saving insulation - any pipes exposed to the outside air are wrapped with insulation. The fish we use are yellow perch (Perca flavescens) which are native to IL. All seeds are organic. Our supplemental lights are LED and energy efficient floresent.

Inspections & Networks

A core requirement of CNG certification is the on-site peer-review. Getting this completed is facilitated if you're a part of a network of aquaponics producers who might serve as your inspector. Are you a part of a network (informal or formal) of aquaponic producers in your geographic area? *


I understand that only the produce, NOT the fish, can be labeled and sold as Certified Naturally Grown. *
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally Grown. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one Inspection(s) of another CNG aquaponic producer in my area each year, if there is one within a one hour drive. *
I understand that the inspection I conduct will NOT be of the same producer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown aquaponic certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your operation.