Desalination: The Science Behind The Water

by The Editors on June 30, 2007

Desalination-1Depending on how the permitting process goes, Carlsbad could be home to the world’s largest desalination plant. That all sounds fine, but what does it mean? Luckily for us Amy Westervelt has written a comprehensive story for the Sustainable Industries Journal in which she outlines the process, the politics, and the environmental issues associated with removing fresh water from ocean water.

The waste product created by the desalination process is a briny solution that is twice as salty as the ocean water it comes from. A desalination plant produces 50 million gallons of freshwater for every 100 million gallons of ocean water it takes in, according to Cooley, co-author of a 2006 report entitled “Desalination, with a Grain of Salt: A California Perspective.” Typically, the 50 million gallons of brine created by the desalination process are dumped back into the ocean.

That’s part of the reason that The Surfrider Foundation is fighting the Carlsbad plant. As General Electric’s project moves forward it’s important that we all have a better understanding of exactly what this means for Carlsbad and for the Coast.

[Link: Sustainable Industries]

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