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Water

Desalination
Processes and Associated Health and
Environmental Issues
By Joseph A. Cotruvo, Ph.D.

Introduction fications. WHOGDWQ cover a broad spec- • Possible unique disinfection byprod-
More than 11,000 desalination plants trum of contaminants from inorganic and ucts.
are in operation throughout the world, synthetic organic chemicals, disinfection • Post treatment blending with source
producing mor e than 20 million cubic byproducts, microbial indicators and ra- waters.
meters (m3 )—r oughly six billion gal- dionuclides. They are aimed at typical
lons—of water per day. About 60 percent drinking water sources and technologies. Distribution
of the capacity exists in West Asia and Because desalination is applied to non-typi- • Corrosion control additives and corro-
the Middle East. North America has cal source waters and often uses non-typi- sion products.
about 11 percent and North Africa and cal technologies, the existing WHO GDWQ • Bacterial regrowth in distribution sys-
Europe account for about seven percent may not fully cover the unique circum- tems.
each. South and Central America to- stances that can be encountered during
gether account for about four percent of production and distribution of desalinated There are other issues of interest
desalination capacity. Desalination is also drinking water. and/or concern as well. System compo-
a significant and growing sour ce of fresh nents that can contribute chemicals to the
water in the Caribbean Islands. Plant Drinking water production water as direct additives or indirectly
sizes and designs range from more than Drinking water production chains from surface contact. Health risks can be
500,000 m3 /day (13,200,000 gallons per can be divided into three broad catego- imparted from consumption of reconsti-
day or 13.2 mgd) down to 20 to 100 m3 / ries, each of which will impact the qual- tuted or restabilized water from general
day (5,280 to 26,400 gallons per day). Due ity of the finished water received by the reduced or selective mineralization, or
to rapid advances in technology and im- consumer: source water quality, treat- from reduced intake of specific minerals
proved efficiencies, the cost of produc- ment processes and distribution. Some like calcium and magnesium. The envi-
ing desalinated water is now approach- issues that distinguish desalination pro- ronmental impacts of desalination facil-
ing $0.50 USD per cubic meter in large cesses from typical drinking water opera- ity siting, operations and brine disposal
plants ($1.89 per thousand gallons or tions include: can be significant. Also, some micr oor-
Kgal), so it is becoming much more ac- ganisms unique to saline waters may not
cessible in areas wher e alternative fresh Source water quality (see Table 1) be removed by the desalination process
water supplies are not available. • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the or post disinfection. Thus, monitoring of
Most desalination plants use seawa- range of 40,000 ppm for seawater and source water, process performance, fin-
ter and/or brackish water as their about 10,000 ppm for brackish water. ished water and distributed water must
sources for drinking water production, • High levels of metal salts including so- be rigorous to assure consistent quality
however; membrane technologies are dium, calcium, magnesium, bromides, at the consumer’s tap. Moreover, addi-
also used for wastewater treatment and iodides, sulfates and chlorides. tional water quality or process guidelines
for r emoving salts fr om processed • Total Organic Carbon (TOC) type. specific to desalination are needed to as-
wastewaters for recycling applications • Petroleum contamination potential. sure water quality, safety and environ-
including prior-to -aquifer recharge. Per- • Microbial contaminants and other or- mental protection.
formance, operating and product qual- ganisms.
ity specifications have evolved virtually Desalination technologies
on a site-by-site basis relative to source Treatment Several common desalination tech-
and the specific end product water use. • Reverse osmosis membranes and ther- nologies are described herein. Desalina-
Most drinking water applications outside mal distillation. tion processes remove dissolved salts and
of North America use World Health Or- • Leachates from system components. other chemicals and materials from sea-
ganization Drinking Water Quality Guide- • Pretreatment and antifouling addi- water and brackish water. Related pro-
lines (WHO GDWQ) as water quality speci- tives. cesses are also used for water softening

J A N U A RY 2 0 0 5 Water Conditioning & Purification 13


and wastewater recla- Table 1. Major ion composition of seawater (mg/L) corrosion inhibitors
mation. The principal de- and increasing the alka-
Typical Eastern Arabian Gulf Red Sea
salination technologies linity. Lime, limestone
Constituent seawater Mediterranean at Kuwait at Jeddah
are reverse osmosis (RO) or bases such as sodium
and thermal (distilla- Chloride (C1-1 ) 18,980 21,200 23,000 22,219 carbonate or sodium
tion). Electrodialysis and Sodium (Na+1) 10,556 11,800 15,850 14,255 hydroxide may be
electrodialysis reversal Sulfate (SO4 -2) 2,649 2,950 3,200 3,078 added to the product
are also in use. Magnesium (Mg+2) 1,262 1,403 1,765 742 water; alternately, the
Calcium (Ca+2) 400 423 500 225 product water might be
Reverse osmosis (RO) blended with the source
Potassium (K+1) 380 463 460 210
These systems re- water to increase TDS
verse the natural solvent Bicarbonate (HCO3 -1 ) 140 — 142 146 and stabilize the water.
transport process driven Strontium (Sr +2 ) 13 — — — Post disinfection is also
by osmotic pressur e Bromide (Br -1) 65 155 80 72 necessary to control mi-
across a semi-permeable Borate (BO3 -3 ) 26 72 — — croorganisms during
membrane from a re- distribution, as well as
Fluoride (F-1) 1 — — —
gion of lower solute con- to eliminate pathogens
centration into one of Silicate (SiO3 -2) 1 — 1.5 — introduced by blending.
higher solute concentra- Iodide (I-1 ) <1 2 — — Degasification may also
tion to equalize the free Others 1 — — — be necessary.
energies. In RO, external Total dissolved solids 34,483 38,600 45,000 41,000
pressure is applied to the Thermal/distilla-
high solute (concentrated) water to cause prior to contact with the membrane. tion
solvent (water) to migrate through the technologies
membrane pores leaving the salts and Membranes The principal distillation (vaporiza-
other nonpermeates behind in a more Common polymeric membranes in- tion → condensation) systems include
concentrated brine. Some membranes clude cellulose triacetate or more recently
Multistage Flash (MSF) Distillation,
will reject over 99 percent of all ionic sol- polyamides and polysulfones. Selection Multi-effect Distillation (MED) and Va-
ids and organics and can have molecular factors for membranes include pH and por Compression Distillation (VCD).
weight separation as low as 50 to 100 oxidant stability, working life, mechani- They can produce water in the range of 1
Daltons. Mechanisms of salt removal by cal strength, pressurization capacity and to 50 ppm TDS.
RO membranes are not fully understood selectivity for solutes. Membranes are Source water is heated and vapor-
and some ions like borate and arsenite packed into a module and they can be ized and the condensed vapor has very
are not removed with high efficiency. In- configured as spiral, plate and tubular. low TDS, while a concentrated brine is
creasing the operating pressure also in- Each has its own characteristics that af- produced as a residual. Simple distilla-
creases the rate of water permeation, fect performance in particular cases. Spi-tion processes can be applicable to de-
however the fouling rate will also in- ral configurations generally have more salination because significant amounts of
crease. Figure 1 illustrates the basic RO favorable operating characteristics of volatile chemicals are usually not present
process that includes pretreatment, mem- performance relative to cost and they are in seawater and brackish waters. Salts and
brane transport, brine con- high molecular weight natu-
centrate production and post Figure 1. ral organics are non-volatile
treatment stabilization and Saline feed water Pressure /membrane and easily separated; how-
disinfection prior to distribu- ⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯→ Pretreatment ⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯→ Freshwater ever, there are circumstances
tion. RO processes can pro- ↓ ↓ where volatile petroleum
duce water in the range of Brine Post treatment → Distribution chemicals are present due to
10 to 500 ppm TDS. spills and other contamina-
most commonly used. Operating pres- tion. Even though their vapor pressures
Pretreatment sures are in the range of 250-1000 psi (17 can range from low to very high, many
Saline feedwater is pretreated to pro- to 68 atm). of them of higher molecular weight could
tect the membranes, reduce fouling and Membranes are typically layered or be steam distilled in a process. In addi-
extend membrane operation cycles. Sus- thin film composites. The contact layer tion, some physical entrainment may also
pended solids are removed by filtration; (rejection layer) is adhered to a porous allow low volatility substances to be car-
pH adjustments (lowering) are made to support, which can be produced from the ried over into the distillate. Periodic clean-
limit precipitation of salts; scale inhibi- same material as the surface. Thin film ing is required to remove scale and salts
tors are added to reduce formation of membranes can be made by polymeriza- deposits from pipes, tubing and mem-
calcium carbonates and sulfates. Inor- tion of the rejection layer to the surface branes. Alkaline cleaners remove organic
ganic oxides such as those from iron or of the porous support. Membrane thick- fouling and acid cleaners are used to re-
manganese, along with organic products, nesses are on the order of 0.05 mm. move scale and salts (See Figure 2).
contribute to membrane fouling. Disin- The boiling point of water (where
fection helps to contr ol bacterial Post treatment the vapor pressure of the liquid is the
biofouling of the membrane; chlorine Product water must be tr eated to
species, ozone or UV light are commonly stabilize it, reduce its corrosivity and
used. Other marine organisms such as make it compatible with the distribution Figure 2.
algae must also be eliminated. Excess system. Adjusting pH to approximately Solution + Energy → V apor → Liquid + Energy
ozone or chlorine must be neutralized 8 is required along with the addition of

14 Water Conditioning & Purification JA N U A R Y 2 0 0 5


same as the external pressure) is 100°C Electrodialysis processes utilize selec- mised can be more sensitive than the typi-
(212°F) at 1 atmosphere (760 mm Hg or tive membranes that contain cation and cal healthy adult to essential and hazard-
14.7 pounds per square inch). As the pres- anion exchange groups. Under a direct ous dietary components. Often the spe-
sure is decreased, the boiling tempera- current electric field, cations and anions cific requirements for optimal health
ture decr eases. The amount of energy migrate to the respective chambers so that states and minimal risk are not under-
requir ed to vaporize a liquid at its boil- ion-rich and ion-depleted streams form in stood for these high-risk segments of the
ing point is called the heat of vaporiza- alternate spaces between membranes. population.
tion. For water, this amounts to 2,256 ki- Reversal of electric fields reduces scaling Some of the beneficial chemicals of
lojoules per kilogram at 100°C (970 Btu and flushes the membranes. Pretreatment interest in drinking water include cal-
per pound at 212°F). The same amount is required to control scale and extend cium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, se-
of heat must be removed from the vapor membrane life and to prevent migration lenium, potassium, bromide, iodide, fluo-
to condense it back to liquid at the boil- of non-ionized substances such as bacte- ride, chromium, zinc, copper and
ing point. In desalination processes, heat ria, organics and silica. manganese. Seawater is rich in ions such
generated from vapor condensation is as calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride
transferred to the feed water to raise its Potential technical, health and iodine, but low in other essential ions
temperature and cause vaporization and and environmental issues like zinc, copper, chr omium and manga-
thus improve thermal efficiency and re- associated with desalination nese. Desalting processes significantly
duce fuel consumption and cost. reduce virtually all of the ions in drink-
Trace nutrients ing water to the point where people who
Multistage Flash Distillation (MSF) In general, public drinking water traditionally consume unreconstituted
MSF plants are major contributors to supplies are not relied upon as contribu- desalted water may be consistently re-
desalting capacity. The principle of MSF tors of significant trace nutrients to daily ceiving smaller amounts of some impor-
distillation is that heated water will boil intake, but rather as a serendipitous tant nutrients relative to people who con-
rapidly (flash) when the pressure of the supplementation whenever it occurs. The sume water from more traditional
vapor is rapidly reduced below the vapor geographic distribution of the nutrients sources. Thus, they may be disadvan-
pressure of the liquid at that temperature. in conventional drinking water will be taged if their diets do not provide suffi-
The vapor generated is condensed on one varied and inconsistent so an appropri- cient mineral intake. Since desalinated
side of surfaces in contact with feed water ate diet should be the principal source. water is stabilized by blending and
on the other side, thus preheating the Dietary supplementation is, however, chemical addition, some of these ions can
water prior to its introduction into the widely practiced for general benefit; e.g., be replenished in that process if the ap-
flash chamber. This will recover most of vitamin D in milk, vitamin C in drinks, propriate treatment chemicals, such as
the heat of vaporization. Approximately iron, B vitamins and folic acid in bread. lime or limestone, are selected.
25 to 50 percent of the flow is recovered The only therapeutic substance com-
as fresh water in multistage plants. MSF monly added to drinking water is fluo- Calcium/magnesium/cardiovascular
plants typically have high feed water vol- ride to strengthen dental enamel and re- disease
ume and flow, incur corrosion and scaling duce the incidence of tooth decay (dental Over about 50 years, a body of epi-
in the plant and have high rates of use of caries). Seawater is low in fluoride and fluo- demiological work involving more than
treatment chemicals. ride is depleted by desalination, so desali- 80 studies of varying quality (e.g. in U.K.,
nated water does not contribute fluoride U.S., Canada and Scandinavia), has fairly
Multiple Effect Distillation (MEF) to daily intake unless it is present in blend- consistently suggested that cardiovascu-
Several configurations of MEF plants ing waters or added post treatment. lar disease mortality rates in many com-
exist, including vertical and horizontal munities are inversely proportional to the
tubes. In all cases, steam is condensed on Health issues hardness of the water supply. Calcium
one side of a tube causing evaporation Water can be a source of beneficial and magnesium are significant compo-
of saline water on the other side. Pres- dietary substances, as well as harmful nents of hard water, so many research-
sure is reduced sequentially in each ef- contaminants such as microorganisms ers have concluded that calcium and
fect (stage) as the temperature declines and chemicals that can mitigate dietary magnesium may have a protective effect.
and additional heat is provided in each components. The presence or absence of There ar e biochemical arguments that
stage to increase vaporization. beneficial ions can affect public health in support this hypothesis, however the is-
the population over the long term, just sue is not resolved with certainty. More
Vapor Compression Distillation (VCD) as the presence or absence of toxicants. recent studies seem to be finding greater
VCD systems function by mechani- Water components can supplement di- positive benefits from magnesium rather
cally compressing water vapor causing etary intake of trace micronutrients and than calcium intake, particularly in re-
condensation on a heat transfer surface macronutrients or contribute undesirable gard to reduced risk fr om stroke or is-
(tube) that allows the heat of condensa- contaminants. In both toxicology and nu- chemic heart disease.
tion to be transported to salt water on the trition, the line between health and ill- Some researchers have argued that
other side of the surface resulting in its ness in a population is not a single line, water softening by ion exchange or RO
partial vaporization. The principal energy but rather a matter of optimal intake ver- also reduces trace nutrients and increases
requirement is in the operation of the com- sus adequate intake, versus intake that is sodium (ion exchange) in drinking wa-
pressor. The compressor functions to in- inadequate to maintain good health ver- ter, or that there is a negative health ef-
crease the pressure on the vapor side and sus a toxic intake that will lead to frank fect from general decreased mineraliza-
lower the pressure on the feed water brine illness in some segment of the popula- tion (total of dissolved salts and electrical
side to lower its boiling temperature. tion. Some parts of the population such conductivity changes). Ion exchange soft-
as young children, pregnant women, the ening replaces each calcium or magne-
Other systems aged and infirm and immune compro- sium ion with two sodium ions. Other

J A N U A RY 2 0 0 5 Water Conditioning & Purification 15


researchers argue that low mineralized lower and mid-range fractions.
water is more aggressive to piping and The lower molecular weight cut off Environmental impacts
metal surfaces and thus increased risks for RO rejection is typically in the range Installation and operation of a de-
could be caused by exposure to trace ele- of 100-300 Daltons. Very large molecules salination facility will have the poten-
ments like lead and cadmium that are are removed by RO membranes, however tial for adverse impacts on air, seawa-
extracted. Cooking foods in low miner- significant fouling can impede operations ter, groundwater and possibly other
alized water increases the depletion of by reducing flux. Small non-polar mol- aspects. These impacts should be con-
essential minerals from the foods. The ecules pass through the membrane. Some sidered and their acceptability and miti-
health significance of these hypothesized molecules, although rejected due to their gation requirements would usually be
relationships with drinking water in any size, may, depending on their solubility matters of national and local regulation
given population would be dependent characteristics and the chemistry of the and policies. Studies to examine these
upon many factors including diet, polymeric membrane, dissolve in the ef fects would usually be conducted at
lifestyle, age, smoking, population genet- membrane polymer and diffuse through each candidate site and post installation
ics, occupation and other confounders. to the finished water. monitoring programs should be insti-
Sodium Distillation processes can theoreti- tuted. A brief partial listing of issues fol-
Sodium can be present in desalinated cally separate any substance by fraction- lows:
water depending upon the efficiency of ation based upon boiling point differ- Construction: Coastal zone and sea
salts removal and the type of post treat- ences, however desalination distillation floor ecology, bir ds and mammals habi-
ment blending or stabilization. Typical is not designed to be a fractionating sys- tat, erosion and non-point sour ce pollu-
daily dietary intake of sodium can be in tem, thus substances with boiling points tion.
the range of 2,000 to 10,000 mg or more lower than water ’s would easily be car- Energy: Fuel source and fuel trans-
and is a function of personal taste and ried over in the vapors and even higher portation, cooling water discharges, air
cultural factors. Some segment of the boiling substances could “steam” distill emissions from electrical power genera-
population is salt sensitive and be carried into the distillate. tion and fuel combustion.
(hypertensinogenic) which means that Pretreatments are used to avoid con- Air Quality: Energy production re-
blood pressure elevation and its com- tamination of finished water by certain lated.
mensurate adverse effects occur to a organics and these can involve an adsorp- Marine Environment: Constituents in
greater degree in those individuals as- tion process using granular activated car- waste discharges, thermal effects, feed
sociated with their total salt consump- bon, or more frequently, powdered acti- water intake process, effects of biocides
tion. Salt sensitivity is estimated in the vated carbon for intermittent in discharge water and toxic metals, oxy-
range of 15 percent of some populations. contamination. Pretreatment of blending gen levels, turbidity, salinity, mixing
Water is usually not a significant con- water may also be required for the same zones, commercial fishing impacts, rec-
tributor to total daily sodium intake ex- reason. reation and many others.
cept for persons who are r equired to be Ground Water: Seepage from unlined
on highly restricted diets of less than 400 Waste management drying lagoons causing increased salin-
mg sodium per day. Wastes from desalination plants in- ity and possibly toxic metals deposition.
clude concentrated brines, backwash liq-
Petroleum contamination uids containing scale and corrosion salts Disinfection and microbe control
Raw and refined petroleum contains and antifouling chemicals and pretreat- Sea and brine waters contain micro-
a very large number of toxic chemicals ment chemicals in filter waste sludges. organisms including bacteria, protozoa
and substances that impart undesirable Depending upon the location and other and viruses that could be pathogenic, es-
taste to finished water. Crude oil contains circumstances, including access to the pecially if impacted by sewage discharges
hydrocarbons and other chemicals that ocean and sensitive aquifers, concentra- or urban runoff. Disinfection occurs at
contain nitrogen and sulfur. Aliphatic tions of toxic substances etc., wastes could several points during the treatment pro-
hydrocarbons can range from gaseous be discharged directly to the sea, mixed cess. The question is: what is adequate dis-
methane (C1) and other small molecules, with other waste streams before discharge, infection to protect public health from ex-
to midrange liquids (C5 to C 16 approxi- discharged to sewers or treated at a sew- posure to pathogenic microbes and are
mately) like heptane (C7 ) and cetane (C13) age treatment plant, lagooned, or dried there any unique risks that may be associ-
and to high molecular weight solids that and disposed in landfills. ated with desalination practices? During
are dissolved or suspended in the mix- pretreatment, a disinfectant, often chlo-
ture. Aromatic hydrocarbons range from Energy consumption rine, will be added to reduce biofouling
benzene and toluene to polynuclear aro- Desalination plants require signifi- and protect the membrane from degra-
matic naphthalene (2 rings) to benzopy- cant amounts of electricity and heat de- dation. Chlorination of seawater would
rene (6 rings) and above. Benzene is pending upon the process and type of be expected to produce substantial
known to cause leukemia and benzopy- source water. It has been estimated that amounts of brominated organic
rene causes skin and other cancers. one plant producing about seven million byproducts. Membranes also have the ca-
Numerous sulfur compounds are gallons per day could require about 50 pacity to separate microorganisms by pre-
present both as heterocycles and as thi- million kWh/yr., which would be simi- venting their passage through the mem-
ols and other forms including sulfur and lar to the energy demands of an oil refin- branes. So long as the membrane is intact,
hydrogen sulfide that is highly toxic and ery or a small steel mill. Co-generation complete removal of microorganisms can
particularly malodorous at very low con- facilities that produce both electric power occur; however, some bacteria can grow
centrations. Refined petrochemicals and (or produce excess heat) and water pro- through the membrane. Leakage can also
gasoline products challenge the treatment vide significant opportunities for efficien- occur in membranes and through seals,
processes with high concentrations of cies by using waste heat from power gen- so surveillance to assure continued mem-
mobile, volatile and often more toxic eration in the desalination process. brane integrity is an important part of the

16 Water Conditioning & Purification JA N U A R Y 2 0 0 5


process management system. these may reach the finished water. This Publishers, 1999.
Even ultrafiltration (UF) membranes, is a concern since data is accumulating 7. Seawater Desalination in California; Cali-
which have pores (~0.001 to 0.1 microns), that some br ominated disinfection fornia Coastal Commission, 1999.
have been demonstrated to achieve sig- byproducts have greater car cinogenic or
nificant reductions of virus and protozoa. toxic potential than many chlorinated 8. Studies in THMs Formation by Various Dis-
infectants in Seawater Desalination Plants;
Better performance would be expected byproducts. Indeed chloroform is not P.C. Mayan Kutty, Proceedings of the Inter-
from RO membranes. Several challenge considered to be carcinogenic at levels national Desalination Association, Vol. VII,
tests employing giardia lamblia and typically found in drinking water. Since pp. 367-399, 1995.
cryptosporidia oocysts and MS2 bacterioph- the TOC found in seawater could be dif- 9. The USAID Desalination Manual, PN-
AAJ-122, USAID; 1980.
age with an ultrafiltration membrane of ferent than TOC in fresh waters, it is also
nominal pore size of 0.035 microns and possible that there could be some differ- 10. Desalting Handbook for Planners, Report
absolute 0.1 micron have demonstrated ences in the chemistry of the byproduct #72. US Bureau of Reclamation, 3r d Edition,
very effective removals. Giardia oocysts formation reactions that could lead to July 2003
can vary from 4 to 14 microns in length some differ ent byproducts or different
11. Trace Metals in Ground Water RO Brine
and 5 to 10 microns in width; cryptosporidia distribution of byproducts. Water; A.I. Alabdula’aly, M.A. Khan in Pro-
oocysts range from about 4 to 6 microns. ceedings of the International Desalination
Intact microfiltra-tion (0.1 micron nomi- Conclusion Association, Vol. V, pp. 573-596, 1997.
nal) and RO membranes should com- Desalination of seawater and brack-
12. Worldwide Desalination Research and
pletely remove the cysts. MS2 bacterioph- ish waters offers the opportunity to sig- Technology Survey; Ministry of Foreign Af-
age size is approximately 0.027 micron, nificantly increase the world’s supply of fairs, Sultanate of Oman, April 1994.
which is smaller than the pore size of the fresh water for drinking and other pur-
membrane. Substantial virus removal is poses. Costs of pr oduction have been 13. World Health Organization Guidelines for
achieved probably due to adsorption of declining rapidly and further economies Drinking Water; World Health Organization,
Geneva, 3rd edition, 2004. www.who.int/
the virus on suspended particles, adsorp- are expected. Due to the saline sour ce water_sanitation_health/dwq/guidelines/en
tion on the membrane, or from the sec- waters and treatment processes involved,
ondary filtration due to fouling of the several issues in finished water compo- 14. World Health Or ganization, Nutrient Min-
membrane surface. (Curiously, RO is sition and process arise that are not typi- erals in Drinking Water and Potential Health
Consequences of Long-Term Consumption of
noted for passing microbes and micro- cally dealt with in conventional drinking Demineralized and Remineralized and Altered
scopic particles, usually assumed to be water supplies. The World Health Orga- Mineral Content Drinking Waters. WHO/
around end-seals and the like. In some nization is currently engaged in devel- SDE/WSH/04.01, 2004. www.who. int/
instances, particle counts from RO exceeds oping guidance aimed at the health and water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrients/en/
particle counts from UF, depending on the environmental issues associated with
configuration—spiral, dead end, etc. End desalination technologies and applica- Acknowledgement
seal leakage does not effect salt rejection tions so as to facilitate broader usage of This assessment was derived in part
by much.) desalination technologies. from an assessment pr epared for the
Distillation at high temperatures World Health Organization’s Eastern
close to the normal boiling point of wa- Bibliography Mediterranean Regional Office to inves-
ter would likely eliminate all pathogens. 1. Desalination and Wastewater Treatment to tigate the appropriateness of develop-
Reduced pressures are used in some de- Augment Water Resources; H.K. Sadhukhan ing WHO guidance for the health and
et al, in Water Management Purification and environmental impacts of desalination
salination systems to reduce the boiling Conservation in Arid Climates, Vol. 2,
point and reduce energy demands. Tem- practices. It was also derived in part
Matthews F.A. Goosen and Walid H. Shayya
peratures as low as 50° C may be utilized. eds. Technomic Publishing Co., 2000. from a contribution to a WHO Expert
Several pathogenic organisms are dena- 2. Immersed Membrane Technology for Para- Workshop investigating nutrients in
tured or killed in a few seconds to min- site and Microorganism Removal in Surface drinking water.
Water Supplies; M. Singh et al, in Proceedings
utes at temperatures in the 60° to 80°C of the International Symposium on Small
range, but spores require higher tempera- Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems, NSF About the author
tures and longer times. International, Jan. 12-15, 2000. 6 Dr. Joseph Cotruvo is President of Joseph
Cotruvo & Associates, Environmental and
3. Membrane Separation Technologies; Peter Public Health Consultants, Washington, D.C.
Disinfection byproducts S. Cartwright in Proceedings of the Interna-
Since desalinated waters are lower tional Symposium on Small Drinking Water
USA. His Ph.D is in Physical Organic Chem-
in TOC than most natural waters it would and Wastewater Systems, January 12-15, 2000. istry. He was Director of the Drinking Water
be expected that the disinfectant demand Standards Division and the Toxic Substances
4. Membrane Techniques in Water Treatment Risk Assessment Division during his almost
and also disinfectant byproduct forma- and Renovation; Michal Bodzek, in Water
tion would be relatively low. This has Management Purification and Conservation 25 years of service with U.S. EPA. He cur-
been indicated in some studies of in Arid Climates, Vol. 2, Matthews F.A. rently works extensively on drinking water
trihalomethane production that have Goosen and Walid H. Shayya eds. Technomic quality, desalination, water reuse and water
Publishing Co., 2000. delivery systems and health science issues.
been reported. However, this could be
significantly affected by the type of 5. Monitoring of Trace Metals in Desalinated Cortruvo also serves on several World Health
blending water that is used post treat- Drinking Water and their Permissible Levels; Organization panels and on research panels
P.C. Mayan Kutty et al, Proceedings of the with the National Water Research Institute
ment to stabilize the water. One of the International Desalination Association, Vol. V,
factors to consider would be the amounts and the WaterReuse Foundation. He is a
pp. 219-230, 1995.
of brominated organic byproducts that member of the Agua Latinoamerica Comite
could be formed from predisinfection of 6. New Developments in Desalination; David Consultivo de Asesores Technicos and Vice
H. Furukawa, in Providing Safe Drinking President of AIDIS USA. Contact informa-
salt waters containing bromide and from Water in Small Systems, J.A. Cotruvo, G.
disinfection of blending waters. Some of Craun and N. Hearne eds., pp. 257-264, Lewis
tion: phone/fax: 1 202 362 3076, email joseph.
cotruvo@verizon.net.
J A N U A RY 2 0 0 5 Water Conditioning & Purification 17