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.
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 ponds to separate ore from water. Evaporation ponds at contaminated sites remove the water from hazardous waste, which significantly reduces its weight and volume while allowing the waste 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 after it evaporates. This prevents the contamination from spreading further 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.
Despite to their multiple uses, evaporation ponds themselves can be difficult to implement. Advancing technology allows for increased efficiency to the productivity and implementation of said evaporation ponds. With new resources such as fabric evaporations to salt-tolerant plants, issues such as cost efficiency and harmful land expansion can be mediated.