Brine concentrate reports published by Bureau of Reclamation

Reports deriving from the Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study – Phase 1 have been made available on the website of the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

The Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study is a collaboration between the USBR and 14 local and state agency partners, who together form the Brine Executive Management Team. The team identified the management of brine-concentrate from desalination and other water treatment processes as significant in addressing southern California’s water supply reliability.

Development of lower quality waters often requires the use of membrane or other treatment technologies that produce brine or concentrate waste streams. This waste is classified by the US 
Environmental Protection Agency as an industrial waste and can face regulatory limitations on disposal.

Currently, the most common practice for disposal is the use of brinelines and ocean outfalls. However, as the
 amount of brine-concentrate waste increases, several implementation, regulatory and institutional issues present complex challenges 
to agencies.

The USBR report says it is clear that there are a number of different elements that together formulate the regional landscape for management of these waste streams. These are

  • the amount of brine-concentrate produced
  • regulatory issues driving brine-concentrate management needs (including emerging constituents of concern)
  • institutional arrangements
  • available 
brine-concentrate management or disposal options
  • planned agency brine-concentrate management projects including pilot/demonstration projects.
  • For this reason, the USBR has issued a number of separate reports, all downloadable from the website:

  • Executive Summary of Phase I
  • Survey Report in three separate parts
  • Regulatory Issues and Trends Report in seven separate parts
  • Secondary and Emerging Constituents Report
  • Institutional Issues Report
  • Brine-Concentrate and Disposal Options Report in two parts
  • Pilot/Demonstrative Projects Evaluation Report.
  • Moving forward to pilot testing will require interagency collaboration to determine how pilot project costs will be shared. This collaboration and the selection of the specific project(s) to be piloted will be the focus of Phase II of this project.

    An article about this project will feature in D&WR‘s May/June issue.