February 2008, Vol. 20, No.2

Water Volumes

Water Desalting: Planning Guide for Water Utilities

American Water Works Association (2004). John Wiley & Sons Inc., 111 River St., Hoboken, N.J. 07030, 216 pp., $150, hardcover, ISBN 0-471-47285-9.

This book is written as a planning guide for water utilities, but it also will be useful for anyone involved with desalination.

The book begins with a brief overview on the desalting process and a plant inventory. Regulatory requirements are discussed, as well as issues related to environmental concerns, land use, noise emissions, facility aesthetics, air quality, and odor control.

A thorough discussion of treatment technologies and concentrate disposal is enhanced by the inclusion of many process-flow diagrams that illustrate the treatment technologies, as well as the mention of several innovative disposal approaches.

The book covers process selection, including tables that approximate energy requirements for various desalination processes, as well as typical land requirements for various desalination plants. An entire chapter is devoted to desalination costs, including an extensive discussion on all project costs. Helpful charts compare construction costs versus plant capacity, and water costs ($/1000 gal treated) versus plant capacity. The chart on construction costs provides options ranging from seawater distillation to brackish water reverse osmosis.

The final chapter provides information on project implementation — from defining the project to operating a desalination plant. This chapter also includes a section on project delivery alternatives and comparison of five project delivery alternatives.

The best part of the book is the eight case studies that follow, which are written by engineers, operators, and manufacturers. These include many process-flow diagrams, figures, graphs, and charts, which better explain the desalting process.

I would recommend this well-written book to anyone involved in desalination.

Timothy R. Banyai is a supervising engineer at Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.).