Brackish Groundwater Desalination Evaluation

The Central Oklahoma Water Resources Authority (COWRA) selected Guernsey to provide a Phase I evaluation to identify brackish groundwater opportunities and review the desalination treatment requirements.

The overall goal was to perform a feasibility study to determine if there is an opportunity for the development of a regional brackish water supply and desalination facility for an enhanced future water supply for COWRA.

The study area included Canadian County, Calumet, Mustang, Okarche, El Reno, and Yukon. Western Oklahoma County and Eastern Canadian County contain portions of the infrastructure requiring assessment.

Guernsey worked with the Owner, OWRB, and ODEQ to define the location of use, quality, and quantity of finished water to be produced by a treatment system, as well as its initial and future capacity. Specific objectives achieved included:

  • Determine engineering, environmental, and economic feasibility, including fatal flaws
  • Identify and evaluate alternatives for a brackish groundwater supply and desalination facility
  • Develop budget/cost information for the proposed facility
  • Prepare an implementation plan, assuming the project is feasible

The study resulted in the identification of a well field southeast of El Reno in the Duncan Sandstone and a proposed centralized membrane technology water treatment plant adjacent to the well field. A proposed 8 MGD treatment plant was proposed to address future growth. Further study was proposed/required to identify the availability of brackish water.

Phase II involved field studies/drilling to determine the potential for brackish water in aquifers identified in Phase I. Three sites were eventually identified for drilling purposes/testing to assess water quantity and water quality in three distinct aquifer systems. Results at depths from 750 to 1500 feet reflected that water quantity was minimal and water quality was very saline, exceeding 22,000 mg/l of total dissolved solids (TDS). Some potential opportunities were identified on the eastern side of Canadian County that might provide water with lower TDS levels, but other constituents could become problematic. Further investigation is needed.