The Impact of Brine Generation on Marine Life through Seawater Desalination

Ajala, Toni, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Anderson, Eric, Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, Science, Technology, and Society, University of Virginia

My technical thesis is a design for a seawater reverse osmosis (RO) desalination in Chennai, India, using pretreatment, RO separation, and post-treatment methods to produce potable water. An inlet flow of 196 million liters daily (MLD) of saltwater results in 150 MLD of freshwater, which cuts half of Chennai's freshwater scarcity. Both physical and chemical impurities of seawater are eliminated using various filtration methods. Then, a two-stage RO
process separates salt NaCl from the water. Finally, a post-treatment process is done to meet India's and US' quality standards for brine disposal and water. The resulting amounts are 150 MLD of potable water and 2.3 million kg/day of crystalized salt.

My STS thesis is focused on seawater desalination's significant environmental consequences, precisely the vast amounts of brine produced and its harm to marine life. The
general effects of increased salinity due to brine and specific case studies in Florida and California are discussed using consequentialism as an ethical framework. The presence of laws is not enough to mitigate brine generation. There is a need for review committees as the number of
desalination plants rises.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Seawater , Desalination
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