A review on the management and treatment of brine solutions
Desalination plants have seen a considerable expansion for supplying potable water sources to many communities in this world. However, the production of brine, as known as concentrate, is an integral part of the operation of desalination plant which faces critical environmental challenges due to its high salinity. Therefore, cost-effective and environmentally benign brine management system is required prior to their proper disposal. Currently, several disposal options including surface water discharge, deep-well injection, and evaporation ponds have been used. However, these processes are unsustainable and limited by high capital cost and non-ubiquitous applications. Various conventional treatment including physicochemical, oxidation and biological processes with varying extent of organics removal have been reported. Nowadays, membrane-based technologies appear to be cost effective methods for managing brine concentrate as they can recover valuable resources and produce clean water with high recovery. This paper critically reviews current technologies for concentrate management, including disposal practices and treatment processes. The characteristics of the brine in terms of water quality and their impact on open water bodies are discussed. This paper examines emerging membrane processes such as forward osmosis, membrane distillation, and electrodialysis that show promise to minimize brine volume, to recover valuable resources and improvement of water recovery. This paper also highlight that integrated membrane processes are better for brine management on resource recovery along with water purification in wastewater treatment facilities and can achieve zero liquid discharge.