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Discharge of Polyphosphonate-Based Antiscalants via Desalination Brine: Impact on Seabed Nutrient Flux and Microbial Activity

  • Guy Sisma-Ventura*
    Guy Sisma-Ventura
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
    *Email: [email protected]
  • Natalia Belkin
    Natalia Belkin
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
  • Maxim Rubin-Blum
    Maxim Rubin-Blum
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
  • Yitzhak Jacobson
    Yitzhak Jacobson
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
  • Hagar Hauzer
    Hagar Hauzer
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
    More by Hagar Hauzer
  • Edo Bar-Zeev
    Edo Bar-Zeev
    Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, 84990, Israel
    More by Edo Bar-Zeev
  • , and 
  • Eyal Rahav*
    Eyal Rahav
    Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, 8030, Israel 310800
    *Email: [email protected]
    More by Eyal Rahav
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 18, 13142–13151
Publication Date (Web):August 31, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c04652
Copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Desalination brine is a hypersaline byproduct that contains various operational chemicals such as polyphosphonate-based antiscalants. Brine often sinks and flows over the seabed by density currents; therefore, it may affect sediment-water nutrient fluxes and thus microbial activity. We quantified these parameters in brine plumes around two large-scale desalination facilities located in the P-limited Southeastern Mediterranean Sea. The benthic nutrient fluxes and microbial activity were determined using ex-situ core benthocosms, to which we added brine from the dispersion area in excess salinities of ∼3% and 5% above natural levels. A higher influx of dissolved organic phosphorus (∼6-fold) and an efflux of dissolved organic carbon (∼1.7-fold) were measured in the brine-amended cores relative to the controls. This was accompanied by increased oxygen consumption (15%) and increased microbial activity (∼1.5–6.5-fold). Field observations support the results from experimental manipulations, yielding ∼4.5-fold higher microbial activity rates around the brine plume compared to uninfluenced locations. Our results imply that desalination brine can alter sedimentary processes affecting benthic nutrients inventories. Moreover, we show that brine acts as a vector of anthropogenic P, stimulating microbial activity in the sediment–water interface.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.2c04652.

    • Figure S1: Spatial vartiability in NOx (A) and the NOx:PO4 ratio (B) in the 3% (black), 5% (gray), and the unamended (white) cores 62 h post brine addition. The red line shows the canonical 16:1 Redfield ratio. Table S1: Summary of median nutrient concentrations in the brine plume, compared with the reference values derived for the study area (Kress et al., 2019) (PDF)

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 3 publications.

    1. Shaopeng Zhang, Bingnan Song, Zhengshuo Zhan, Yanbiao Liu, Xu Zhao, Guo-Ping Sheng, Yang Lei. Efficient Treatment of Phosphonate-Laden Wastewater by CaO2/UV: Partial Oxidation, Complexation, and Coprecipitation. ACS ES&T Water 2024, 4 (4) , 1647-1656. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestwater.3c00699
    2. Ryan Sirota, Gidon Winters, Oren Levy, Joseane Marques, Adina Paytan, Jack Silverman, Guy Sisma-Ventura, Eyal Rahav, Gilad Antler, Edo Bar-Zeev. Impacts of Desalination Brine Discharge on Benthic Ecosystems. Environmental Science & Technology 2024, 58 (13) , 5631-5645. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c07748
    3. Joseane A Marques, Almog Gafni, Osher Adler, Oren Levy, Edo Bar-Zeev. Antiscalants used in the desalination industry impact the physiology of the coral Montipora capricornis. Water Research 2023, 229 , 119411. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.119411

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