The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking innovative solutions for reducing the volume of concentrate requiring disposal from inland desalination systems in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.
In many areas, particularly in the Western United States, existing fresh water sources of are fully allocated or over-allocated. When inland communities are evaluating potential sources for new water supplies, desalination is often overlooked or not considered due to its perceived high cost. A major cost factor is the additional handling, disposal and/or treatment required to manage concentrate streams. Further, in the disposal of concentrate, significant and desirable additional water resources are also lost.
Concentrate management approaches differ widely from location to location and will vary based on a number of factors such as raw water quality, climate, the feasibility of other concentrate disposal options (ocean discharge, deep well injection, etc.), regulations, and the value of water. A solution for concentrate management that works well in one location may not be feasible for a different location.
In this prize challenge, Reclamation is seeking innovative solutions for reducing the volume of concentrate requiring disposal from inland desalination systems in an affordable, environmentally sustainable, and efficient manner to make desalination an attractive option relative to other alternatives in locations where traditional sources of water are inadequate. Solutions can be novel technologies or approaches that build upon existing technologies.
This challenge is hoping to spur more innovative approaches to inland brackish desalination which would result in the production of more usable water and less concentrate requiring additional treatment or disposal. Reclamation is not interested in conventional solutions to concentrate disposal such as discharge (ocean, surface water, sewer, etc.), deep well injection and evaporation ponds. These solutions can be used to manage the final residual from processes that reduce the concentrate volume.