Warmer summers combined with a shortage of rain and snow have resulted in record-low levels of ground water in Sweden, which in turn has led to challenges accessing drinking water. Norconsult has helped solve this problem in Mörbylånga municipality on the island of Öland. To solve the problem Norconsult was commissioned to identify freshwater sources and examine other methods of finding water. Since no other sources were found, investigations were started to establish whether brackish water could be extracted from the Kalmar Strait and desalinated using a process known as reverse osmosis. However, the water in the strait was too warm in the summer. To guarantee good water quality, the water would have to be cooled, which is an expensive process. Consequently, other water sources had to be found.
Norconsult delivered engineering design of process, localisation study including risk analysis, volume study and building design, pilot study process, water supply and extraction, application process water extraction, water quality, microbiological analyses/risk analyses, pilot studies and testing, architecture, buildings, ground works, heating, ventilation and sanitation engineering Large quantities of brackish water were found in the ground with a good temperature all year round. The solution was to clean the process water from the food industry. Attempts were made to reduce the salt content and therefore energy consumption during the cleaning process by mixing the brackish water with the process water from the food industry.
Following testing it became clear in 2017 that the solution could contribute a significant volume of Mörbylånga’s future drinking water supply. Reverse osmosis was used to desalinate brackish water and clean water from local industry to provide good quality drinking water. A unique, and above all sustainable development. Before the industrial water reaches the waterworks it is cleaned in a separate pre-treatment plant, which is also part of the project. The project was awarded the prestigious “Water Reuse Europe Innovation Prize 2019”.