Oxnard Saline Demonstration Wetland

Project ID: 7138
Principal Investigator: Richard Huggins
Research Topic: Desalination and Water Treatment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Keywords: None

Research Question

Alternative strategies for concentrate management must be developed to serve the anticipated growth in use of membrane technologies. One conceptual alternative is to remove contaminants from the concentrate with engineered treatment wetlands and create or restore brackish or salt marsh wetlands with treated concentrate.

The City of Oxnard's Ground Water Recharge Extraction and Treatment GREAT) program incorporated two desalting facilities treating either ground water or reclaimed water, which would yield concentrate qualities of highly varying composition and strength.

The Oxnard Saline Demonstration wetland is a one of a kind treatment wetland designed to treat concentrate generated by reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in a water reuse facility. The advanced water purification facility (AWPF) treats secondary wastewater effluent using microfiltration (MF), RO, and advanced oxidation to generate reclaimed wastewater suitable for crop irrigation. The overall research questions follows:

Can saline treatment wetlands be created to reuse and treat RO concentrate?

The research objectives for this study include the following:
1. Demonstrate the use of wetlands as a natural treatment technology for RO concentrate
2. Determine optimized performance of the wetland for concentrate treatment and scale-up
3. Establish points of comparison with other engineered wetland treatment systems in the western US
4. Evaluate potential for creating and/or restoring coastal saline wetlands habitat for concentrate management

Need and Benefit

The City of Oxnard in studying the innovative use of advanced water treatment concentrate waste streams for the creation of saline marsh treatment wetlands. There is widespread local support for this study. Oxnard needs technical assistance and peer review from Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) staff on this study. Should the pilot saline wetlands prove successful as treatment wetlands, there is tremendous potential for widespread adoption of this strategy throughout Reclamation's coastal States. This innovative technique uses a "waste" product that would otherwise discharge to the ocean while creating much needed salt marsh habitat.

Reclamation is currently pursuing wetland research as a water treatment technology in a number of areas that include inland saline concentrate wetlands (Goodyear, AZ – PAA) and innovate wetland designs targeting trace organic compound removal (Waco, TX – OTAO). Researchers between these three wetland projects have collaborated to include similar research concepts, monitoring plans, and project deliverables to leverage Reclamation internal funding across a variety of wetland projects.

The Oxnard Saline Demonstration Wetland is a unique facility targeting concentrate management from a water reuse treatment plant. No other treatment wetland system in the world treats this type of effluent through this combination and configuration of processes. This wetland targets nutrient and trace organic compounds present in wastewater concentrate as well as salinity and trace metals rejected by RO membranes in the advanced water treatment facility. Results obtained here would be helpful in further implementation of wetland technologies for environmentally benign management of concentrate.

This proposal focuses on utilizing the collaborative relationship between the City of Oxnard and university researchers. These university relationships and this research center structure are broadly applicable to all ongoing research at Reclamation facilities. Partnerships between federal researchers and universities to apply for monitoring funding for a research center makes this research project highly affordable to the S&T program for the returned research investment at the facility.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17