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An aerial view of the evaporation ponds to the south of the Dead Sea operated by the Dead Sea Works
An aerial view of the evaporation ponds to the south of the Dead Sea operated by the Dead Sea Works

Evaporation ponds are artificial ponds with very large surface areas that are designed to efficiently evaporate water by sunlight and expose water to the ambient temperatures.

Uses

Evaporation ponds have several uses. Salt evaporation ponds produce salt from seawater. They are also used to dispose of brine from desalination plants. Mines use them to separate ore from water. Evaporation ponds at contaminated sites remove the water from hazardous waste, which significantly reduces its weight and volume and allows it to be more easily transported, treated and stored.

Evaporation ponds can also be used to evaporate the precipitation that falls on a contaminated site. The contaminants that the water picks up on the ground are left behind when it evaporates, preventing it from spreading farther down the watershed.

Evaporation ponds are used to prevent pesticides, fertilizers and salts from agricultural wastewater from contaminating the water bodies they would flow into. In California, selenium in agricultural wastewater has been especially problematic, causing birth defects in waterfowl.

Technology

Despite their multiple uses, evaporation ponds can be difficult to implement. Advancing technology has made their implementation and efficiency more efficient. With new resources such as fabric evaporations for salt-tolerant plants, the ponds' costs and environmental impacts can be mediated.

See also

References