Report: Pacific Institute looks at impacts of seawater desalination on the marine environment

With desalination gaining interest as a water supply solution—and several agencies in California examining the technology through technical and environmental reports and pilot projects—the Pacific Institute has undertaken a research initiative on seawater desalination.

This latest report, the fourth in the series, looks the marine impacts of reverse osmosis desalination plants—including impingement (killing of marine organisms on the intake screens), entrainment (killing of marine organisms during the desalination process) and disposal of the resulting concentrated brine—and discusses possible solutions to the identified problems.

“If and when we build plants in California, we must ensure that the plants are built to the highest standards given what we know now,” said Heather Cooley, co-director of the Pacific Institute Water Program. “Additionally, monitoring of existing and proposed desalination plants is crucial to improving our understanding of the sensitivity of the marine environment and helping promote more effective operation and design to minimize ecological and biological impacts in the future.”

Read the report
Access the previous reports from the desalination research initiative

Written by Marta Weismann