Loving County, Texas, is testing an innovative desalination plant that will transform brackish water into drinkable water, supplied to households in the town of Mentone, according to Permian Basin 360.
The $3.5 million plant is one of its kind in the Permian Basin, as it uses a new pilot technology to desalinate water. The project is jointly funded by Loving County and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, through the WaterSMART innovative water treatment grant program.
The evaporative desalination unit itself is called DyVaR and was manufactured by Netherlands-based company SaltTech. Apart from brackish water, it can also treat processed water from hydraulic fracturing operations, which are among the most common industrial activities in the area.
When water enters the unit, it gets evaporated in specially designed cyclone chambers where clean water is separate from the brine. Treated water is condensed from steam and the brine is disposed of as a solid after it has been dried. The Mentone facility also includes a new solar power plant, brackish water well, storage tanks and booster pumps.
Since the technology is unique for Texas, authorities have requested a pilot test that will demonstrate how the process works and if the water meets all state standards for quality. The pilot is expected to launch in two or three weeks and will run for about six months. After its completion, the produced water will be included in the public water system.