Brine Solutions Using Microbes

Halophilic (salt-loving) microorganisms greatly increase brine evaporation rates.

Test Jars Before and After

Interesting Characteristics of the Proprietary Process

  • No energy is used
  • No mechanical equipment
  • No additional infrastructure or buildings required
  • No sprays or mists
  • No drift or odors
  • No pretreatment required
  • No control systems, plumbing, or electricity
  • Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) potential
  • Reduces carbon footprint
  • Degrades and mineralizes organic compounds when present (decreasing VOC air emissions)
Factor Standard Evaporation Microbes
Evaporation Rates Decrease as salts increase Increase as salts increase
Organics Remain Destroyed
Acceleration Mechanical Natural
By-Products Over sprays None
Post-Treatment Leftovers Concentrated Brine Clean crystals
Electrical/Fuel Needed Yes No
New Infrastructure Yes No
Obvious to Neighbors Yes No

This proprietary, science-backed technique of enhanced brine evaporation was developed over a 35+ year career by one of the world’s most distinguished, halophilic microbiologists, and is now offered by Clear Creek through a distributorship. The approach truly fits the definition of a “Natural System” which is a core component of Clear Creek Environmental offerings. Specifically, over 1,300 halophilic (salt loving) micro-organisms have been isolated and are strategically selected based on brine characteristics to greatly increase evaporation. The specifics of the proprietary process are confidential, but the ‘activity’ of these specialized microbes results in changes to brine on both a micro and macro level, which in turn significantly increase the rate of evaporation compared to that of untreated brine. Evaporation rates of highly saline brines may exceed that of fresh water in some scenarios. Note that all microbes used are non-pathogenic, pose no threat whatsoever to human health or the environment, and they cannot survive outside of a highly saline brine environment so there is no biological risk of any kind.

The approach, discovered in part by accident, began long ago when two adjacent brine ponds were noticed to have different evaporation rates. One pond had been inoculated with a special blend of microbes and nutrients, and the other had not.  Since that point in time over 25 years ago, much experimentation and testing have occurred and the knowledge gained allows us to leverage nature to solve a practical problem of our society. Because we can provide a method to dispose reject concentrate in places where options are limited, it becomes possible in those areas for more sustainable energy production and industrial manufacturing, production of potable water, and water reuse for agriculture or other purposes. This method of brine disposal also allows for better protection of sensitive ecosystems while reducing the cost of the above activities.

Today, the technology is well understood and benefits of the process can be leveraged to solve the difficult task of disposing even highly saline brine. In fact, a counter-intuitive characteristic of this technology is that the higher the salt content, the more effective it is. In other words, where all other technologies struggle or fail, this approach is most successful, thereby 'closing the loop' for numerous processes that produce highly saline brine. The technology is even effective when salt is super concentrated at 100,000 mg/L to 30% and higher.

line graph

 

As shown in the simplified diagram below, untreated brine evaporation decreases as the salts increase.  Once the special blend of salt-loving microbes and nutrients are added to the pond, the colonies grow exponentially and increase evaporation rates.

brine flow photo
evaporation

With the variety and bio-diversity of microbes in our ‘library,’ we can successfully apply the process in many different environments including, but not limited to: acidic or alkaline conditions, hot or cold climates, salt only or multiple compounds of concern, many different brines from multiple industries.  We can evaluate your brine and create a blend of microbe cultures paired with just the right nutrient mixture that will be customized for your lagoon.

Contact us today to see how we can help you!  We’ll walk you through our Easy, 3-Step Process to full implementation.

 

Step 1 – Viability Testing.  We ensure that there are no major bio-inhibitors and that we can efficiently grow cultures in your brine.

 

Step 2 – Customization.  We determine what combination of microbes and nutrient mix works best with your brine.

 

Step 3 – Implementation.  We grow cultures and mix nutrients which are shipped to your site for pouring into your brine pond.

 

That’s all it takes to start increasing evaporation rates!

 

Have any questions at all?  Check out our BROCHURE and contact us to discuss your project!

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