Understanding the role of ecological indicator use in assessing the effects of desalination plants

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 9:01am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 06/2015
Authors: Jin-Soo Chang
Journal title: Desalination
Volume: 365
Pages: 416 - 433
ISSN: 00119164

Understanding the role of a global seawater desalination plant project using potential ecological indicators is important in assessing ecological risk and/or impact evaluations from observations at a molecular level. A marine health assessment of ecological indicators (e.g., as an early-warning system) can provide information about an area of ecosystem disturbance, the disappearance of symbiosis, organism mortality, instability of fertility and breeding species, the emergence of single species, the bioaccumulation of test bed operation pollutants discharged, and changes in the communities. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of ecosystem health assessments using potential ecological indicators in a seawater desalination test bed. We review some empirical analyses and compare desalination concentrate treatments, the impact of reverse osmosis and multistage flash, chemicals used in the plant, the impact pathway, the brine outfall pipe, an operational assessment, salinity tolerances, and the eco-toxicological effect of brine in a marine ecosystem. Based on literature research results and data illustrating the degraded ecosystem and/or the original ecosystem, stress caused by a desalination project on the marine ecosystem damage can provide information about the marine ecosystem disturbance, the disappearance of symbiosis relationship, which may be as important as sustainable management using living ecological indicators.

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