Single Well Brackish Ground Water Recovery and Brine Disposal

Project ID: 8427
Principal Investigator: Kevin Black Sr.
Research Topic: Desalination and Water Treatment
Priority Area Assignments: 2012 (Advanced Water Treatment)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2012
Keywords: brine disposal, brackish groundwater development, solar desalination, improved range management

Research Question

Under what geologic, hydrologic, hydraulic, and economic conditions could a single well be used to extract brackish ground water and inject the brine produced from advanced water treatment back into the same well?

What are the parameters to assess application of a single well brackish ground water development system?

Are there applications of a single well brackish ground water development system within the Bureau of Reclamation's (Reclamation) service area consistent with mission priorities and partnership objectives?

Need and Benefit

A need exists to develop an alternative brine disposal method as a potential cost savings to evaporation ponds. The benefit of returning the brine back to the source aquifer within the same well as brackish ground water is withdrawn would be the potential elimination of the evaporation pond and the capital, operation, maintenance, and replacement (OM&R) associated with this disposal method. Potential improvements to the portion of the aquifer accessed by the well could be realized where the waste total dissolved solids (TDS) is lower than the TDS in the aquifer near the bottom of the well or saturated portion of the source aquifer. Scientists theorize that aquifer conditions in the target test area reveal a stratified TDS with higher values in the bottom of the source than in the top.

The benefit of managed development of water in a range management unit, such that grazing controls inherent in the management of water availability facilitate range management objectives, could result in substantial improvements to the watershed and local livestock economy.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

A report of findings containing all pertinent information as defined within the plan of study. A model tool containing the parameters determined from the research that could be used to evaluate other locations where the single well system could be applied if determined feasible.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17