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Salt separation and purification concepts in integrated farm drainage management systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  032236,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14961) @2003
Authors:   B.M. Jenkins, G. Sun, V. Cervinka, J. Faria, P. Thy, D.H. Kim, T.R. Rumsey, and M.W. Yore
Keywords:   Agricultural subsurface drainage water, salinity, salt, sodium sulfate, chloride, solar evaporation, concentration, separation, recovery, purification, markets

Agriculture on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley of California, like many irrigated arid land agricultures, suffers from increasing soil salinity and water logging and faces large scale land retirement in the near future if salts and subsurface drainage cannot be removed. Following discovery of avian deformities and mortalities at Kesterson reservoir due to high selenium levels, closure of drains originally intended to convey subsurface drainage out of the Valley left farmers with few alternatives. Integrated farm drainage management (IFDM) systems employing sequential water reuse have emerged in recent years as potential phytoremediation techniques to improve salinity management. Development of acceptable final salt removal approaches is critical to the overall success of such systems. Solubility characteristics of sodium sulfate offer the potential to recover purified sulfate for commercial markets. Salt separation and purification using solar concentration and ambient cooling processes are currently being analyzed and tested. Sodium sulfate recoveries depend on the composition of the drainage feed to the concentrator along with local meteorological conditions and may range from as low as 28% to more than 85% of total salt.

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