A thin, film-like structure that separates two fluids, is in during the process of desalination. The membrane acts as a selective barrier, which allows some particles or chemicals to pass through but not others.

Reverse Osmosis

A membrane-technology filtration method, used commonly in desalination,  that removes large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution as it passes through the membrane.


Any process that removes, whether partially or entirely, the salt, large particles and other minerals and contaminates from saline (salt) water for the purpose of creating water that is safe for human consumption.

Total Maximum Daily Load

“Total Maximum Daily Loads are quantitative analyses of water bodies where one or more water quality standards are not being met, and are aimed at identifying the management strategies necessary to attain those water quality standards. In essence, TMDLs describe the amount of each pollutant a water body can receive without violating standards, and are characterized as the sum of wasteload allocations, load allocations, and a margin of safety to account for uncertainties. Wasteload allocations are pollutant loads attributable to existing and future point sources, such as discharges from industry and sewage facilities. Load allocations are pollutant loads attributable to existing and future nonpoint sources and natural background. Nonpoint sources include runoff from farms, forests, urban areas, and natural sources, such as decaying organic matter and nutrients in soil.

TMDLs take into account the water quality of an entire water body or watershed and assess all the pollutant loadings into that watershed, rather than simply considering whether each individual discharge meets its permit requirements. The management strategies that emerge from the TMDL process may encompass everything from traditional regulatory measures, agricultural best management practices and other pollution prevention measures, land acquisition, infrastructure funding, pollutant trading, and the like. They also will include an overall monitoring plan to test their effectiveness.”


Maximum Contaminent Level

A standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water quality.  The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is the legal limit for the amount of a pollutant allowed in a public water system.