A modeling framework to evaluate blending of seawater and treated wastewater streams for synergistic desalination and potable reuse

Xin Wei, Zachary M. Binger, Andrea Achilli, Kelly T. Sanders, Amy E. Childress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A modeling framework was developed to evaluate synergistic blending of the waste streams from seawater reverse osmosis (RO) desalination and wastewater treatment facilities that are co-located or in close proximity. Four scenarios were considered, two of which involved blending treated wastewater with the brine resulting from the seawater RO desalination process, effectively diluting RO brine prior to discharge. One of these scenarios considers the capture of salinity-gradient energy. The other two scenarios involved blending treated wastewater with the intake seawater to dilute the influent to the RO process. One of these scenarios incorporates a low-energy osmotic dilution process to provide high-quality pre-treatment for the wastewater. The model framework evaluates required seawater and treated wastewater flowrates, discharge flowrates and components, boron removal, and system energy requirements. Using data from an existing desalination facility in close proximity to a wastewater treatment facility, results showed that the influent blending scenarios (Scenarios 3 and 4) had several advantages over the brine blending scenarios (Scenarios 1 and 2), including: (1) reduced seawater intake and brine discharge flowrates, (2) no need for second-pass RO for boron control, and (3) reduced energy consumption. It should be noted that the framework was developed for use with co-located seawater desalination and coastal wastewater reclamation facilities but could be extended for use with desalination and wastewater reclamation facilities in in-land locations where disposal of RO concentrate is a serious concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115282
JournalWater research
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy requirements
  • Membrane processes
  • Modeling framework
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Seawater desalination
  • Wastewater reclamation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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