M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentNoi Gili
SubjectDevelopment of a Quantitative Approach for Environmental
Impact Assessment of a Desalination Plant:
Shavei Zion Case Study
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisors ASSOCIATE PROF. David Broday
PROF. Yohay Carmel


Seawater desalination plant is planned to be constructed at the Western Galilee in 2018, near Shavei-Zion. Desalination plants are associated with high energy consumption, potential damage to marine life and use of land along the coast. Different methods for An Environmental Impact Assessment are applied today. The methods applied have few disadvantages. First, current EIA methods are mainly qualitative rather than quantitative. Second, decision makers lack the knowledge required to achieve the best environmental decision, since they are exposed to inconclusive information.

The main goal of this work is to develop a new and better method for assessing the impacts of desalination plants on the environment. This research focused on the two major environmental effects of desalination activities: air pollution and brine discharge to the marine environment. The marine ecology impact assessment method is based on three main ecosystem parameters: primary production, species diversity and decomposition. For each parameter a degree of impact scale was designed. The estimation of the cost resulted from the effect on air pollution and public health in this work followed a fixed pathway adopted from the European Commission project, the ExternE project, and was improved, using the Impact Pathway Approach, to enable applying it in other areas. The method is illustrated for assessing the impact of on-site and off-site power production for the desalination plant, and accounts for either local or national air pollution related health effects. We demonstrated the method for estimating the effects of PM2.5 emissions due to the facility power requirements and cardiopulmonary mortality in Nahariya and Akko. The results of the above methods were demonstrated for the proposed Shavei Zion desalination plant. We found that the degree of ecological impact on the three parameters that were studied is expected to be minimal based on Palmachim desalination plant monitoring data. Regarding air pollution and public health impact assessment, at the national scale, describing all health outcome resulted from the increased PM2.5 concentration with health related monetary value of 1,896,800 NIS, and the local scale, describing mortality from cardiopulmonary diseases in Akko and Nahariya in people older than 45 as a result of increased PM2.5 concentration with health related monetary values in the range of 74,500-1,585,500 NIS.

    The research did not suggest an integration between these two assessments. Two possible paths for integration are suggested, and the idea of examine the benefits and weaknesses of the integration in every impact assessment study.