Brine Disposal: How do efficient desalination plants get rid of this toxic remnant?

Brine Disposal: How do efficient desalination plants get rid of this toxic remnant?

If you have never heard about desalination plants, let us give you a quick idea of what it is. In essence, as the planet struggles with the freshwater availability, modern technology has made it possible for manufacturers and large industries to convert saline or saltwater from the sea to be used as freshwater. At present, the desalination process is a tad bit pricey to be implemented for common use. However, it is efficiently being used by industry owners and large-scale manufacturers to save freshwater.

When efficient desalination plants work on the conversion of salty seawater to freshwater, the resulting remnant is a toxic form of a compound called Brine. This brine is a highly salt-dense compound that is evidently passed back into the sea by most desalination plants. However, efficient desalination plants do not do the same.

So, what are the side effects of brine added back to the sea?

Side effects of brine in seawater

Brine, when pushed back into the seawater, can have a drastic impact on the salt-water ecology. Here are some issues that might surface when this is done on a large scale.

• The toxic effect on the fishes and other marine life
• Reduction in the oxygen levels present in the seawater
• Ecological disturbance of the seawater food chain
• Brine deposits on the sea/ocean water base can lead to the destruction of sea plants

This being said, with the help of efficient desalination plants, you can reduce or eliminate any risks associated with rampant disposal of brine in the sea or any other place. Today, desal technology has been evolving at a rapid pace. This is why the efficient desalination plants today work in a far efficient manner both in terms of the brine being produced or energy used for the production of desalinated water.

Why countries need desalination of seawater?

With rising instances of depleting groundwater as well as freshwater levels, it has become important for countries all over the globe to come up with an alternative that can keep up with the need for freshwater. The only possible way is to opt for sea/ocean water desalination.
However, this should always be done while ensuring that there is the least adverse impact on the environment all around us.

Here are some ways in which efficient desalination plants work with the environment to carefully dispose of the toxic brine for minimal adverse effects.

1-One popular choice opted by most desalination plants is to mix it with the sea water before being pumped out properly. This helps with the dilution of the brine and aids in the reduction of the overall side effects that come from the dumping of brine into the ocean or seawater.

2-Another way to go about it is to dispel the brine in places where the water current is at its strongest. This helps in a way that the salt is easily mixed with the ocean/seawater as opposed to settling down. This efficiently reduces any negative impact of brine being added to the seawater.

3-Yet another popular way for the efficient desalination plants is to make use of brine rather than dumping the same in the seawater. For example, brine can be made use of in the meat-packing and preservation industry. It can also be used for pickling.

4-Brine is also being used with the cooling and refrigeration systems. Why is that? This is because brines are helpful in the transfer of heat and work as a powerful media given the low temperature for freezing. Not just that, brine is also known for its lower vapor pressure. This makes it perfect for being used in refrigeration systems.

5-Brine is also perfect for use in inland cropping that helps irrigate the crops that are salt tolerant. It could also be used during fish farming as well as the production of table salt.

Realistic and Most Successful brine Disposal Methods

If you get in touch with a reliable team working with efficient desalination plants, you will come across some of the solutions listed below for brine disposal.

1-Mixing Diffusion Dilution

In order to avoid the brine’s plume effect, it needs to be disposed of with the strongest sea current in the area to ensure that the brine efficiently mixes up with the seawater. For enhancement of the brine diffusion, a separate solution is prepared for the perforation of the pipe that runs through the seafloor.

2-Surface Water Discharge

In several instances, brine is discharged into the surface of the water bodies like lakes, rivers, or reservoirs. This is an easy solution for desalination plants. However, the efficient desalination plants need to do this in compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

3-Evaporation Pond

In this process, brine or the highly concentrated salt water can be allowed to accumulate within a pond or surface impoundment that helps with the further concentration of the brine as the water within evaporates. For this process, there is no requirement for a federal permit. However, some local state governments might need regular monitoring of the same.

4-Land Application

In the case of crops that are tolerant to the high amount of salt, brine can be used for irrigation of the land and result in successful crop growth.

5-Deep Well Injection

Another method opted by efficient desalination plants is to inject the brine within the porous space of the subsurface formation of rock. However, even though the process isn’t as harmful to the environment, it might be a costly process, given the fact that it requires the plants to drill and maintain the well in the long run. Not just that, you would require a permit for the same, which generally includes rigorous evaluation as well as site monitoring by the local authorities.

6-Dust Control

Another friendlier way to dispose of the brine by efficient desalination plants is to use the same for dust control in places where the climate is dry during the summer months. It can easily be applied to the fields or roadways via the spray method.

7-De-Icing Agent

In the traditional scenario, road salt helps with the suppression of ice present on the roadways with colder climates. Instead of opting for road salt, brine can be used to tackle the snow levels on the road.


Brine is something that can be a burden on both the efficient desalination plants as well as the environment. The key is to opt for cost-effective methodologies that keep the overall financial requirements within the bay. One must always keep in mind that there should be minimal negative comes to brine disposal. A method can be dubbed eco-friendly and cost-effective only if it causes minimal damage to the environment while reducing the effects on your pockets. This is what efficient desalination plants do for you.

Want to opt for efficient desalination of sea or saltwater for your manufacturing unit? You can place your trust in Keiken Engineering. Our innovative and experienced approach in the management of your industrial projects will help bring down the overall costs required while being minimally damaging to the environment. To know more about our work, write to us at info@keiken.es. You can also give us a quick call at +34936811650.