Wednesday, July 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Distill drinkable water from ocean

By
From page A10 | February 21, 2014 |

The Enterprise of Feb. 16 has an article on Page A2 from the Associated Press on President Obama’s statement about satisfying California needing water. No mention is made of the never-ending supply from the ocean along 800 miles of California coast. Also no one anywhere mentions how California’s abundant sunshine can be utilized to distill drinkable water.

Such water would require little further, often costly, purifications as occurs with much fresh water. That water would need much less treatment with chlorine, reducing greatly the unneeded formation in drinking water treatments of halogenated chlorinated hydrocarbon that escape to cause ozone depletion.

The situation is more drastic than just drought as the huge agricultural enterprise along the coastline is finding that some wells used to irrigate are getting salt water seeping in. That could curtail a big part of a multibillion-dollar industry for the state.

Can someone get state leaders to forget the crazy concept of shipping of Northern California water to Southern California and to start calling for using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy in distilling set-ups to get drinkable water? Another reason to get water from the ocean along the coast is that water channels from NorCal to SoCal may get busted open in an earthquake.

What kind of mess could that make for the state?

A further benefit arises from using the solar-powered distilling of ocean water. A concentrated salt solution remains, and that can be used to treat cleaned sewage water dumped in the ocean as occurs in Alameda County Water District at least. Making that cleaned sewage waste water up to ocean level in saltiness will destroy germs so that chlorinating treatments are not needed, curbing formation of ozone depletors.

James Singmaster III
Davis

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Austin KerrFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:51 am

    I don't fully understand the last paragraph. It's my understanding that is very difficult to find an environmentally acceptable way to handle the concentrated brine that results from any desalination process. Is there more brine than is needed to bring treated wastewater to the same levels of salinity as ocean water? Does ACWD discharge high-saline water in the the ocean or into the SF Bay? How would the process result in destroying germs (in water that has already been treated) and curb formation of ozone depletors?

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  • Noreen MazelisFebruary 21, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    There is a method for converting the concentrated brine into "snow"; indeed, Israel has developed such a method and has been supplying the Winter Olympics in Sochi with this "snow." (No BDSers need ski on such "racist" snow, of course.)

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  • Puddin TaneFebruary 21, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    Well Noreen, you're right about the Israeli snow machines being developed from desalination technology, but you're wrong about them turning brine into snow. The process separates freshwater from brine, because freshwater freezes at a higher temperature than saltwater. By freezing the water, they can purify it and separate it from the brine, but you can't freeze the brine itself.

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