Saline groundwater A better option for desalination, finds study

Saline groundwater from coastal aquifers is a better alternative water source than seawater for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination due to reduced membrane fouling and pre-treatment costs, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have found.

Saline groundwater from coastal aquifers is a better alternative water source than seawater for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination due to reduced membrane fouling and pre-treatment costs, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have found.

The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology and conducted by researchers at the BGU Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, the BGU Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and the Israel Geological Survey.

In the study, vertical wells were used to take samples from the saline groundwater. All the wells were a maximum of 300 feet (100 meters) from the shoreline. Researchers said that other saline groundwater benefits include consistent annual water temperatures, and lower levels of dissolved oxygen, silt density and phytoplankton. It also decreases the cost of desalination, researchers said.

“Decision-makers in both California and Israel can use this research to seriously consider saline groundwater as a realistic alternative when planning future large-scale seawater desalination facilities,” explains Dr. Roni Kasher, a senior lecturer in the BGU Zuckerberg Institute’s Department of Desalination and Water Treatment. “In Israel, seawater desalination accounts for 60% of the total freshwater supply, so these findings are significant.”

BGU researcher Shaked Stein added: “The RO process in coastal aquifers will be helpful in restraining seawater intrusion.

“The study showed that aquifer filtration increases the feed water quality and reduces the need for extensive pre-treatment processes.”

Wastewater reveals Queensland’s increased drug use

Methamphetamine residue found in the wastewater of a Queensland city has multiplied five times since 2009, a new study has found.

University of Queensland scientists from The National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox) worked with Professor Wayne Hall of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research to obtain the results.

More than 1000 samples were taken from a coastal metropolitan city and a major inland regional city between 2009 and 2015.

Methamphetamine consumption was measured in milligrams per day per 1000 inhabitants.

“Methamphetamine consumption increased 4.8 times in the metropolitan area over the timeframe, and 3.4 times in the regional area,” according to Professor Hall.

In 2009 the mean for the coastal metropolitan area was 234mg/day/1000 people, which increased to 1126mg/day/1000 people in 2015.

Professor Hall said the wastewater analysis alone did not determine whether consumption had increased because there were more users or because existing users were consuming more. He said: “However, when you view this together with other timely research, it is consistent with there being exponential growth in the number of users.”

Both the wastewater study and a study on Australian usage estimates have been published by The Medical Journal of Australia.

IN BRIEF

SUEZ consortium wins Barka

Oman Power and Water Procurement (OPWP) has chosen the Barka Desalination Company, a consortium including SUEZ to finance, build and operate a 281,000 m3/day seawater desalination plant in Barka under a public-private BOO (Build Own Operate) partnership. SUEZ is in charge of the construction, worth €276 million.

Jerusalem gets smart on water meters

Itron has delivered AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) ready volumetric water meters to Jerusalem Water Undertaking (JWU) to help modernise the water supply and reduce apparent non-revenue water losses in its system.

Osmoflo says cheers to brewery win

Australian water company Osmoflo has won a contract to provide wastewater treatment solutions to Stone & Wood Brewery, New South Wales. A custom designed plant will consist of integrated ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane treatment skids to allow recovery of high quality water for use in cooling towers and boilers.

Desalination for Maldivian Island

A joint UN-Maldives project on Thoddoo Island will include rainwater harvesting and desalination. The new system is expected to provide a yearly mean rainwater supply of 8619 m3/day to the 2,000 inhabitants of the island, helping to reduce groundwater extraction. The Government of Maldives covered nearly 70%, or $1 million, of the system costs.

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