The Office of Saline Water (OSW), U.S. Department of Interior, funded much development work on sea water desalination. This office is a clearinghouse for technical information on these efforts and maintains a list of companies that have engineered desalting facilities under its program.
Small stills used for producing high-purity water are usually under 100 gph in capacity. They are single-stage stills, usually made of tin. Such units are expensive and unlikely to have significant application in wastewater treatment. Distillation processes used for large-scale desalination offer savings in energy compared to a simple still.
Distillation is an expensive method of demineralization and is not recommended except when one of the following conditions exist: (1) Potable water is required, and the only source is sea water; (2) a high degree of treatment is required; (3) contaminants cannot be removed by any other method; or (4) inexpensive waste heat is available.
Large-scale systems have been tested and are being commercially used in brackish and sea water desalination. They have not been applied to wastewater treatment, but demonstration plants have been evaluated in treating mine drainage waters.
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