News Feature | June 30, 2014

First-Of-Its-Kind Desalination Plant Unveiled In Texas

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Desalination Plant Could Treat Fracking Wastewater

A new desalination plant in Loving County, TX, is the first of its kind in the region. 

The county has finished installing an evaporative desalination unit and solar power plant designated for drinking water production, officials said in a recent news release, per Permian Basin 360

The project, located in Mentone, cost $3.5 million. It was funded by Loving County and the federal Bureau of Reclamation by way of the WaterSMART innovative water treatment grant program. The facility will treat brackish water. 

"The DyVaR technology is capable of treating brackish groundwater, produced water, and frack water. The water being treated is evaporated in special cyclone chambers where pure water is condensed from steam and the brine is concentrated for disposal as a solid," the release said. 

The technology is unique in the Permian Basin, Permian Basin 360 reported. It is a test facility. 

“What's unique about this machine is that it uses a patented cyclone technology to do the evaporation,” James Busby, the project engineer, said in the piece. 

The plant could also treat produced water from fracking operations. 

“For produced or frack water, a process like this could produce water for reuse in the oil field,” Busby said.

At the moment, there are no seawater desalination plants up and running in Texas. The state is home to dozens of brackish groundwater desalination plants. There are 46 municipal brackish water desalination facilities operating across the state, the News Journal reported

How severe is the Texas dry spell?

"The current drought, which started four years ago, is among the five worst in the past 500 years...If it continues to be as dry as it is has been, the drought could be the third worst," the Houston Chronicle reported, citing state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.

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