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Open AccessArticle

Assessment of the Requirements within the Environmental Monitoring Plans Used to Evaluate the Environmental Impacts of Desalination Plants in Chile

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Department of Marine Science and Applied Biology, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, Alicante E-03080, Spain
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Laboratory of Aquatic Environmental Research, Centro de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Viña del Mar 2520000, Chile
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Programa de Doctorado Interdisciplinario en Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Exactas, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2340000, Chile
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Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Ambientales, Centro EULA, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
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Centro de Recursos Hídricos para la Agricultura y Minería, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
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HUB-AMBIENTAL UPLA, Vicerrectoría de Investigación Postgrado e Innovación, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2340000, Chile
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Sacyr Agua, Paseo de la Castellana, 83-85, 28046 Madrid, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(10), 2085; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102085
Received: 14 August 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 2 October 2019 / Published: 6 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design for Seawater Desalination)
Seawater desalination represents an alternative solution to face the challenge of water scarcity in Chile. However, the uncertainty toward potential environmental impacts of desalination plants represent a barrier to achieving water sustainability and socioeconomic development in Chile. This study aimed to assess the quality of environmental monitoring plans (EMP) and determine the aspects to be improved within it, in order to enhance the management of desalination plants during the operation phase and guarantee a sustainable development of the activity. The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Environmental Impact Studies for seawater desalination projects published in the Environmental Impact Evaluation System (SEIA) in Chile between 1997 and 2018 were reviewed. The results of the brine production from desalination plants showed a significant increase in the last decade (about 1.6 Mm3 per year estimated according to the projects approved or under implementation). The EMPs data show heterogeneity and increasing requirements over time, which can be attributed to the governmental effort to improve environmental protection. Furthermore, a high frequency of irrelevant descriptors was identified in the current EMPs. The study thus recommended standardizing the environmental requirements included in EMPs based on empiric scientific knowledge to enhance the environmental protection programs in Chile. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental management plan; seawater desalination; environmental impact; brine discharge; reverse osmosis environmental management plan; seawater desalination; environmental impact; brine discharge; reverse osmosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sola, I.; Sánchez-Lizaso, J.L.; Muñoz, P.T.; García-Bartolomei, E.; Sáez, C.A.; Zarzo, D. Assessment of the Requirements within the Environmental Monitoring Plans Used to Evaluate the Environmental Impacts of Desalination Plants in Chile. Water 2019, 11, 2085.

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