Treatment of RO concentrate using VSEP technology

Guillermo Guadalupe Delgado, University of Texas at El Paso


The city of El Paso has the largest inland brackish desalination plant in the world. The Kay Bailey Hutchison (KBH) Desalting plant produces 15 million of permeate water every day. Due to the excellent quality of the water, the permeate water is blended with brackish water producing a final volume of 27.5 million gallons of water every day. With an average recovery rate of 80%, the KBH plant produces an average of 3 million gallons of concentrated brackish water that is disposed of via injection wells 23 miles from the plant. ^ Conventional reverse osmosis (RO) systems are not capable of treating the KBH concentrate due to the high concentrations of dissolved solids. At these concentrations, some of the dissolved solids start to precipitate (i.e. silica for example) causing fouling of membranes.^ This project is an analysis of the Vibratory Shear Enhanced Processing (VSEP) to recover fresh water from the KBH concentrate. The characteristics of VSEP to work with high concentrations of suspended solids and high pressures can be used for the KBH concentrate. A VSEP pilot unit was tested to obtain the necessary data in order to make a projection for a large scale treatment system. VSEP was tested under different scenarios (i.e. concentrate with or without suspended solids) to evaluate the efficiency of the unit. A cost analysis was made in order to determine the cost effectiveness of a large scale system capable to treat the KBH concentrate.^ The results of this project are presented in the next sections.^

Subject Area

Environmental Studies|Water Resource Management|Engineering, Environmental

Recommended Citation

Delgado, Guillermo Guadalupe, "Treatment of RO concentrate using VSEP technology" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1473859.