Salt Production in the Southeast Bay


Through natural evaporation, water is drawn out of the saltwater concentration ponds, creating increasingly saline brines. Some minerals in the water crystallize at different rates and under different conditions. The art of modern salt-making involves keeping these minerals in solution (or liquid phase) while sodium chloride precipitates into its pure white crystals. The remaining minerals stay in solution longer and are harvested after the salt has crystallized. Flying over the bay or driving over some of the area's bridges, you will notice that evaporation ponds have distinctive colors. The palette of colors that makes the salt ponds such a vibrant sight reflects a complex ecosystem. Colors in salt ponds range from pale green to deep coral pink, and indicate the salinity of the ponds. Microorganisms create these spectacular colors, changing their own hues in response to increasing salinity.


Wooden gates allow watermen to adjust brine levels and salinity
in saltwater evaporation ponds at the Cargill facilities in Newark.


Temporary railroad tracks laid on the crystallizer bed
provide an avenue for up to a million tons of salt to
head to the wash house during harvest.