Agrarian

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Salton Sea Solar Pond Project, California

The Solar Evaporation Pond pilot project is located near Niland on the shoreline of the Salton Sea.
Salton Sea Arial view
The project was developed to explore the feasibility of using solar evaporation ponds for controlling the salinity and elevation of the Salton Sea.
valve on pond
The concept is to give the Sea a functional "outlet" by pumping water to the solar ponds, which will deposit solid salt outside the Sea's boundaries and thereby remove it from the Sea's water.
restoration, Salton sea, arial view
This project generated the data and the demonstration confidence needed to advance the restoration program for the Salton Sea to the next stage of development.

Specific goals of the project were to determine the evaporation rate from various concentrations of brine, determine the seepage rate of the soils where the ponds are constructed, and to determine the characteristics of the solid salts and the bittern salts.

Agrarian developed the only publicly available model for salt deposition from Salton Sea brine, which permits peer review of the data and the concept. In addition, these ponds served as a natural laboratory to study the quality of the habitat that they created for birds.
Habitat preservationSalt pond
Methods for achieving these goals include:

  • Installing and measuring evaporation pans
  • Conducting a laboratory study to evaluate bitterns, as well as studying bitterns in the ponds
  • Constructing seepage ponds that are both lined and unlined
  • Developing a solar pond series that will make solid salt, and
  • Measuring the growth of the solid salt in the ponds, and conducting laboratory analysis of salts and brines to determine their chemical composition

Learn more about the Solar Evaporation Pond Project at the Salton Sea.