Too much brine? Study highlights growing toxic brine problem

 
 
Updated 1/14/2019 10:58 AM
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  • FILE - The Sept. 4, 2015 file photo shows the Carlsbad, Calif. desalination plant which borders Interstate 5 on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other in Carlsbad, Calif. UN Warns of Rising Levels of Toxic Brine as Desalination Plants Meet Growing Water Needs.

    FILE - The Sept. 4, 2015 file photo shows the Carlsbad, Calif. desalination plant which borders Interstate 5 on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other in Carlsbad, Calif. UN Warns of Rising Levels of Toxic Brine as Desalination Plants Meet Growing Water Needs. Associated Press

BERLIN -- The world's thirst for fresh water is causing a salty problem.

According to a scientific study released Monday, desalination plants worldwide are producing 142 million cubic meters (5,014 million cubic feet) of brine daily - about half more than previously estimated.

The report by researchers from Canada, the Netherlands and South Korea claims that would be enough to swamp Florida in a foot of brine every year.

Because much of it is dumped untreated into the sea, and some is laden with toxic chemicals, the authors are calling for better brine management.

Manzoor Qadir, assistant director of the U.N. University's Canada-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health, said this is particularly important in countries producing large volumes of brine such as Saudi Arabia and smaller neighboring Gulf states.

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