As freshwater sources of drinking water become limited, cities and urban areas must consider higher-salinity waters as potential sources of drinking water. The Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California has a very high salinity (43 ppt), total dissolved solids (70,000 mg/L), and color (1440 CU). Future wetlands and habitat restoration will have significant ecological benefits, but salinity levels will remain elevated. High salinity eutrophic waters, such as the Salton Sea, are difficult to treat, yet more desirable sources of drinking water are limited. The treatability of Salton Sea water for potential urban water use was evaluated here. Coagulation-sedimentation using aluminum chlorohydrate, ferric chloride, and alum proved to be relatively ineffective for lowering turbidity, with no clear optimum dose for any of the coagulants tested. Alum was most effective for color removal (28 percent) at a dose of 40 mg/L. Turbidity was removed effectively with 0.45 μm and 0.1 μm microfiltration. Bench tests of Salton Sea water using sea water reverse osmosis (SWRO) achieved initial contaminant rejections of 99 percent salinity, 97.7 percent conductivity, 98.6 percent total dissolved solids, 98.7 percent chloride, 65 percent sulfate, and 99.3 percent turbidity.
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