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Formation and Fate of Chlorination Byproducts in Desalination Systems

Principal Investigator
David L. Sedlak, University of California at Berkeley

Recent improvements in membrane technology have decreased the costs and technical challenges associated with reverse osmosis (RO) systems. As a result, the worldwide capacity of seawater desalination systems approximately doubled between 1994 and 2004  and additional capacity is being planned in populated coastal areas in California, Spain, and Australia. The high quality of water produced by RO systems has been touted as an advantage of desalination plants relative to other water sources, such as wastewater effluent. Despite the widespread success of existing desalination plants and the excellent performance of RO membranes in removing salts and chemical contaminants, the large investments in desalination being contemplated by utilities around the world necessitate a careful examination of the potential occurrence of chemicals that pose human health or ecological risks in water produced by desalination systems.

The main objective of this project was to assess the occurrence of contaminants of concern in water produced by desalination systems. The project also considers the potential impacts of these contaminants on human health in desalinated water and on aquatic organisms in waters that receive desalination concentrate. The project includes a comprehensive review of chlorine disinfection byproducts in desalination systems; studies of their formation after chlorination of seawater from different locations; removal of chlorine disinfection byproducts in a pilot-scale seawater desalination system; and the formation of disinfection byproducts after chlorination of desalinated water, before and after blending with water from other sources.
(2009, 123 pages, 05-011-1)

Member price: 25.00
Foundation subscriber price: 15.00
Non-member price: 45.00