Any solution that has a high amount of different types of salts such as sodium chloride is considered to be a brine solution. These types of solutions can either be created naturally or by an industry of some sort. Though this is the case, brine waste that is a byproduct of a particular industry has a tendency to contain much higher amounts of these types of solutions. A byproduct is a product that is created from the process of manufacturing. So if a company is manufacturing or creating a product, then a secondary product is created, not intentionally but by coincidence, this is a byproduct. A by-product can be one or two things, it can be marketable, which means the industry can make money off it, by selling it some kind of way. Or it can be useful, or lastly, it can be simply waste. Brine is waste and has not been adopted for any kind of marketable use.
How is Brine Harmful?
Brine is unintentionally developed by industries that produce gas and oil. It’s contents consist of salt, oil and other matters such as injection water, etc. Because of the very high concentrated amounts of salt in this product, when it flows out into the earth, it has a highly negative impact on our vegetation and soil. When this happens farmers are no longer able to use the land to grow crops or any kind of foliage that matter. Even if the crops receive plenty of water, due to brine being present, it would appear as if the crops were experiencing a drought. Osmotic is what scientists call this experience. Whereas, water naturally flows to areas that have high amounts of salt, leaving areas that have low concentrations of salt. Brine actually breaks down and changes the physical and chemical makeup of the soil, one reason for this is because the solution also contains electrical conductivities.
Can Brine be Treated to Make Less Harmful?
Yes, Brine can go through a system of what is called reverse osmosis. Reverse Osmosis works to remove contaminants, including salts from water. Typically, the types of water that undergo these treatments are brackish, seawater, etc. Wastewater has become the main participant in this type of treatment. After this treatment, the brine is successfully separated from the water. Now the brine needs to be disposed of. Deposing of brine requires the disposer to carry a permit.
How can Brine be Disposed?
There are a few ways to dispose of brine. One way is to dispose of it into a river or reservoir. This can be done, typically, in the lower cost range. However, the disposer will need permission to do this, also it must be done in compliance. The permits that are given to a company has guidelines, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System gives the company rules upon how to dispose of contaminated water, etc.
Another way to dispose of brine is to allow it to gather into a pond. This allows the water to evaporate into the air. No federal permit is allowed to do this, but it may need to be monitored.
A brine facility or a facility that reuses or recycles brine takes into consideration prior to its opening, it’s location and the volume of brine which will be contained. It also takes into consideration the constituents of the brine. The facility must have obtained the proper permission to open. And also, it must have gotten any mandatory permits.
Once the brine has been treated it can be used in a number of facilities to do a number of things. Once such manufacturer is the paper and pulp industry. Another type of industry that has found particular use for brine waste is the mining industry. By taking brine waste through numerous electrolysis cycles, it is found that it can be used in the chlor alkali production process.