Brackish Water Desalination

Treatment of alternative water sources: reverse osmosis, brine management, and more

As water scarcity increases for many regions, brackish water can be a critical resource. However, with total dissolved solids (TDS) ranging from 1,500 to 20,000 mg/L, desalination is required. Recovery and management of the desalination brine requires careful consideration. Saltworks provides advanced technologies for cost-effective brackish water desalination and brine management. We can also help you to optimize your existing assets.
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Brackish Water

Brackish water has more dissolved solids than freshwater, but generally less than seawater. Besides sodium chloride, other prominent dissolved solids include manganese, iron, sodium sulfate/bicarbonate, calcium sulfate/bicarbonate, and occasionally naturally occurring radioactive material (e.g. radium). The compositions can vary extensively and may even change with time.


Brackish groundwater can be extracted from suitable locations, often below freshwater aquifers. It is increasingly used as an alternative to freshwater. For many purposes brackish water is desalinated to lower its salinity and/or total dissolved solids (TDS). Advanced membrane treatment technologies that are used to do this include reverse osmosis (RO) and ultrafiltration (UF). However, since many brackish water resources are inland, consideration of brine minimization and management for these plants is essential.

Brackish water desalination diagram
Reverse Osmosis System

Go Beyond Conventional UF and RO

Conventional ultrafiltration (UF) and brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) plants are low cost and widely available. However, they also operate with conventional recoveries, generating substantial brine volumes that must be managed.


More advanced reverse osmosis processes are emerging, pushing recoveries up by 5–10% through unique hydraulic designs, aggressive anti-scalants, and process controls that help maintain membrane throughput.


Saltworks can perform or support advanced brackish desalination projects, taking you a few steps further. We can help you to optimize the entire process for lowest cost of ownership, including: consideration of risk management, redundancy, and up-time. 

Additional Treatment Options

We can measure and remove scaling ions from your upstream BWRO to enable additional RO stages that reach the maximum attainable osmotic pressure limits, boost freshwater recovery, and limit brine waste.

  • Use ScaleSense real time scaling ion sensors to maximize plant recovery and protect membrane health.
  • Target contaminants of concern with our IonSelect solutions, remove specific ions, metals, and other contaminants. 
  • Prevent scaling ions from entering brine residuals with ion selective FlexEDR systems, enabling much higher recoveries.
  • Remove silica with SilicaSelect or other scaling ions with BrineRefine, reduce TDS and allow enhanced performance downstream.  
  • Protect downstream RO assets with XtremeUF, filter suspended solids, oils & grease with our automated, robust, ceramic ultrafiltration system.
  • Add a downstream RO: XtremeRO is our next generation reverse osmosis system, producing freshwater and a low volume brine.
  • Achieve MLD/ZLD with SaltMaker for ultimate brine management: our advanced evaporator crystallizers reach maximum recovery with minimum brine or solid waste.

Contact us to learn more about your brackish water desalination strategy can be improved with advanced technologies.

Saltworks Engineer Analyzes Water Sample at Treatment Plant

Brackish Water Desalination Related Products

BrineRefine Chemical Softening System

Smart, compact, modular chemical system that reduces costs with precise dosing and built-in solids management. Improves recovery & minimizes fouling risk with intelligent controls that communicate with downstream assets, like RO or evaporators. More ...

SaltMaker AirBreather Evaporator Crystallizer

The first evaporator-crystallizer with no atmospheric contact, important for water with volatile organics. Choose between no liquid water return or clean water that is safe for discharge. More ...

XtremeUF Ceramic Ultrafiltration System

An ultra-robust ceramic based ultrafilter that can remove suspended solids, oils, and grease from the most challenging slurries & impacted wastewaters. XtremeUF cleans as it operates, to ensure your membranes maintain performance. More ...

XtremeRO Brine Concentrator

Next-generation water-maker and brine-concentrator based on reverse osmosis that achieves extreme freshwater recoveries, enabling cost-effective brine management and treatment of challenging organic-laden waters including oil & gas produced waters. More ...

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Applying Ultra-High Pressure Reverse Osmosis in Brine Management

New ultra-high pressure reverse osmosis technology for minimal liquid discharge (MLD) can reduce brine management costs by three times relative to evaporators. Modernized chemical softening technology is available to prevent scaling and enable recovery up to the osmotic pressure limit at 1,200 or 1,740 psi.

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