Desalination is being touted as one of the best solutions
for providing water as growth continues and sources become depleted in
the West. There are numerous desalination plants planned along the coast
of California alone. I'm concerned about the long term environmental
effects of dumping the concentrated saline brine back into the
ocean. Have any studies been done on this in Saudi Arabia or other areas?
Not that I know of. However, I don't think there's much cause for concern,
as concentrated brine is not produced. In a desalination plant, a lot of
seawater is processed to get a little fresh water, and the effluent is only
a tiny bit more saline than the influent.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director, PG Research Foundation
Darien, IL USA
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Update: June 2012