Canada's first desalinated, bottled ocean water offers a sip of the Salish Sea
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, February 19, 2018 6:40PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 19, 2018 6:44PM PST
A Sooke-based company has become the first in Canada to desalinate and sell bottled ocean water.
Saltwest Naturals sells a range of sea salt products using water from the Salish Sea off Vancouver Island's southwest coast, and more than 400 stores across Canada carry the line.
But it wasn't until a chance conversation that one of the company's owners realized he could tap into a new market – bottled seawater.
"We're a hand-harvested sea salt company and this was just a fortuitous by-product of our main business," said Jeff Abel. "Vancouver Island Health Authority was here one day and posed a question to us, 'What do you do with the desalinated water?' And he said you guys should bottle it, and we said alright."
The company collects seawater at a nearby beach, using a filter to prevent any sea life from being sucked up as required by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The seawater runs through two filters and then through the dense membranes of a reverse osmosis system at around 800 psi.
Salt-free water then flows out of one pipe while a saltwater brine comes from another.
"Every thousand gallons that we run through, we end up with around 650 gallons for our salt production and 350 gallons of fresh water," said Abel.
A UV fliter is added as a safeguard before the water is bottled and ready to drink.
Unlike other bottled water products, the company's Salish Pure water is demineralized with 98.9 per cent of minerals removed, concentrated instead in its salt products.
The company says while some might think desalinating ocean water would come with high costs, it's not the case.
"It actually saves us," said co-owner Jessica Abel. "By having this potable water we can sell, it's also going to help us invest in our company."
The water is currently available at SaltWest's production facility and online at a cost of $2 per 500-millilitre bottle.
A #Sooke based company, @SaltWestNatural, is the first in Canada to produce desalinated bottled water from the sea. How a chance conversation sparked the product’s creation on @CTVNewsVI at 5 & 6. #yyj pic.twitter.com/PmyP0F2J4L— Amber Schinkel (@CTVNewsAmber) February 19, 2018