Comparative Analysis of Innovative Concentrate Management Systems

Project ID: 3699
Principal Investigator: Tom Poulson
Research Topic: Desalination and Water Treatment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2008, 2009 and 2010
Keywords: None

Research Question

The Phoenix Metro area in Arizona will be producing 11 million gallons a day (mgd) of concentrate from water treatment by the year 2020 and it is projected that 28 mgd of concentrate will be produced in 2035. In the immediate future the Western Canal Water Treatment Plant will be producing 3 mgd of concentrate by 2015.

One conclusion reached in the Central Arizona Salinity Study was: most likely it will be a "system" of concentrate management methods versus one idea.

Two(or more)concentrate management "systems" will be pilot tested. Some ideas are: reverse osmosis (RO); Vibrating Membrane Separation (VSEP); evaporation ponds. Or: RO; Lime Softening; 2nd RO; evaporation ponds. Some exotic concentrate management ideas may be added to the systems such as dewvaporation or Wind Aided Intensive eVaporation (WAIV). While all of these ideas have been tested before, they haven't been tested working together at a scale which would show the economics and viability to handle large amounts of concentrate.

Need and Benefit

RO is a vital key for the local communities to use all the water resources available to them; including brackish ground water and highly saline effluent. The problem is that significant amounts of concentrate are produced as a byproduct of RO. No one has had to manage the projected amounts of concentrate (28 mgd by 2035)in an inland setting before. Reclamation should remain at the fore front of salinity research be working with the communities affected by our projects (e.g., Central Arizona Project [CAP] and the Snake River Project [SRP]) in solving some of the most intractable problems associated with desalination. The results of this work will move the communities in the Phoenix metro area towards long term solutions for the disposal of concentrate.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Independent Peer Review

The following documents were reviewed by qualified Bureau of Reclamation employees. The findings were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Concentrate Management Wetlands (interim, PDF, 10.5MB)
By Thomas Poulson, Mr. Jim Bays and Mr. Ryan Rhoades
Report completed on June 28, 2012

The Central Arizona Salinity Study (CASS) has predicted that reverse osmosis (RO) facilities in the greater Phoenix area will be producing approximately 80 million gallons of potable water daily from brackish ground water and effluent by the year 2025. Approximately 12 million gallons a day (mgd) of concentrate will be produced as a byproduct. CASS also predicts that by the year 2035, production of water using RO will have dramatically increased and as a result 28 mgd of concentrate will be cr

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Treating Concentrate in Desert Wetlands (final, PDF, 258KB)
By Tom Poulson
Publication completed on September 30, 2010

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20