Impact of a Hydrate-Based Marine Desalination Technology on Marine Microbiota and Water Quality
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC CHEMICAL DYNAMICS AND DIAGNOSTICS BRANCH
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Marine Desalination Systems MDS is currently developing new technology in gas hydrate formation to supply potable water. To scale this technology to support different country needs there is a requirement to assess the environmental impact of desalination. The NRL MDS collaboration on biological influence of marine desalination focuses on water quality of processed water and environmental impact of the marine desalination application. With this segment of the project accomplished, the subsequent evaluation will focus on the impact of large scale marine desalination on environmental quality. To assess the environmental impact of the marine desalinization system there is a need to understand resulting changes to key bacterial and elemental cycles. Seawater vertical transport, alteration of water flow, and filtration have potential to change the microbial community diversity, substrate availability, electron acceptors and key element speciation. Microorganisms surveyed in this analysis control elemental cycles that set environmental quality for the entire aquatic food chain. This study initiates assessment of the effect of the MDS process on water quality and the growth rate of the natural bacterial assemblage. We measured heterotrophic bacterial production, dissolved organic carbon DOC concentration and stable isotope values, and fluorescence spectra of the organic matter that partition into the hydrate and waste water streams.
- Organic Chemistry
- Biological Oceanography
- Water Pollution and Control
- Inorganic Chemistry