Creating solutions in collaboration Annual report 2013

Counteracting salinisation of well fields  

Freshkeeper in Florida

13 May 2013Research

The implementation of the Freshkeeper is advantageous for a Florida water company. This is the initial result of research begun in 2013 in the US to discover whether the Freshkeeper can also help there in tackling the salinisation of drinking water sources.

Groundwater salinisation is a problem in Florida because of the strong demand for water and rising sea levels

After the Freshkeeper, a concept for prevention of salinisation of water wells, was successfully implemented by Vitens in the Netherlands, research is being conducted in 2013 to discover whether the Freshkeeper could play a role in the US state of Florida. The salinisation of groundwater is an increasing problem there because of the strong demand for water and rising sea levels.

Research at two water companies

At the invitation of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Klaasjan Raat, one of Freshkeeper’s developers, sets to work with Petra Ross of the ARCADIS engineering consultancy. Their task is to calculate what the implementation of the Freshkeeper could contribute to two water companies. “In other words, what it means to tackle the problem rather than walk away from it,” says Raat. If the companies do nothing, they will have to cut down or stop their water abstraction operations at the salinised wells.

With Fresh Keeper: brackish water is abstracted such that it does not flow to the freshwater well (1) and can be desalinated using membranes (2). The saline residual stream is pumped back into a deeper aquifer (3).

With Fresh Keeper: brackish water is abstracted such that it does not flow to the freshwater well (1) and can be desalinated using membranes (2). The saline residual stream is pumped back into a deeper aquifer (3).

Collaboration

ARCADIS has a strong international presence. “We have local knowledge – in Florida, for instance, we’re very familiar with the underground – and a local network,” says Ross. For Raat this is great: “I quickly realised that the technical level in water production was comparable to that in the Netherlands. The implementation of the Freshkeeper would not be a technical problem.” “We complement each other well,” says Ross. “At ARCADIS we like to think along with our clients in coming up with solutions to problems. We’re also good at business-case calculations: What are the benefits and costs of a particular measure? And KWR is good at innovative solutions. The two fit nicely together.”

Follow-up

The first calculations indicate that it would be advantageous for the first water company to implement the Freshkeeper. The report for the second company is to be completed in 2014.

© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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