March 1, 2008

Tampa Desal Project Fully Operational

As dry conditions are forecasted to continue in the southeastern United States, the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant, serving 2.4 million people in west-central Florida, is now fully operational and providing millions of gallons of clean drinking water from the sea every day.

At 25 million gallons per day (mgd), the plant provides about 10 percent of the Tampa Bay region’s drinking water supply and is operated by American Water and Acciona Agua through their joint venture subsidiary, American Water-Pridesa. The desalination plant will serve as a model that other coastal communities may consider as a practical solution to ease their water troubles.

“We’ve already had folks from coastal areas in California, Texas and other parts of Florida look at the plant,” said Jerry Maxwell, general manager at Tampa Bay Water. “It’s good to know that there’s a safe and sustainable way to harvest water from the sea.”

The 30,000-square-foot seawater desalination plant is located on 8.5 acres of Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach on Tampa Bay. The plant uses about 44 mgd of seawater from the power plant’s cooling system. The seawater is pretreated to remove algae and other particles. Then, reverse osmosis filters separate 25 mgd of freshwater from the seawater.

The unused concentrated seawater is diluted with up to 1.4 billion gallons of cooling water before it is discharged to the bay. Monitoring during the plant’s first year of operations showed no measurable changes in salinity, even when the plant was operating at maximum capacity. Protecting the environment was a big concern for Tampa Bay Water and its two partners on this project, American Water and Acciona Agua of Spain. The plant was built to meet the stringent U.S. environmental regulations and overcame the challenges they presented.

“We are extremely proud to have partnered with Tampa Bay Water to successfully complete the largest seawater desalination plant in the United States,” said American Water President Don Correll. “With rigorous pretreatment, the right technology and proper operation, desalination can be done efficiently and effectively and is a viable solution as a water resource.”

Acciona Agua Managing Director Luis Castilla said, “Acciona is pleased to join American Water and Tampa Bay Water in a true public-private partnership bringing together cooperative strengths in technology, design-build implementation and a willingness to overcome significant hurdles.”

Because Tampa Bay is a coastal region, seawater desalination was a natural consideration for the area, but originally cost prohibitive. There were also technical problems encountered in the early years at the plant. Plant modifications included overhauling the pretreatment process to correct inadequate screening and filtration, as well as deficiencies in the reverse osmosis and post-treatment processes.

Technological advances brought the cost of desalinated water down significantly and the wholesale cost for desalinated water in the first year of operation is expected to be competitive with other similarly sized desalination plants across the globe, currently $3.38 per 1,000 gallons.

The initial cost to build the reverse osmosis plant and a nearly 15-mile pipeline was approximately $110 million. Significant remediation throughout the plant brought the total capital cost of the project to approximately $158 million, including membrane replacement.

Under the partnership agreement, the Southwest Florida Water Management District will reimburse Tampa Bay Water $85 million of the plant’s eligible capital costs in installments over the next 18 months. The partnership agreement earmarks locally collected ad valorem taxes to offset the cost of alternative water supply development.

Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, who in turn serve 2.5 million people in the Tampa Bay region. To learn more about Tampa Bay Water, please visit

Large-Diameter RO Membrane Desalination Plant Begins Operation

Opening ceremonies were held in January for PowerSeraya Ltd.’s new Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) Desalination plant in Singapore.

The facility, engineered, procured and constructed (EPC) by CH2M Hill, is the world’s first full-scale seawater desalination plant to use large-diameter SWRO membrane technology. Located on the petrochemical hub of Jurong Island in Singapore, the project was successfully delivered over a fast-track schedule of 18 months, from contract signing to plant handover. The SWRO plant uses 16-inch diameter membrane elements, instead of the current industry standard of 8-inch diameter – resulting in significant capital and operating cost savings to PowerSeraya.

“In pursuing our renewables strategy, we required a very innovative solution to integrate our heat, water and power processes to create an intelligent, virtuous cycle of electricity, steam and water generation,” said Neil McGregor, PowerSeraya’s managing director. “CH2M Hill understood the real value of this partnership, took on the challenge, and created the world’s first full-scale SWRO.

The new SWRO desalination plant has a capacity of 2.64 mgd, and produces two customized grades of water: high-grade service water used for power production, and potable drinking water. CH2M Hill achieved significant cost savings for the project by using the power plant’s existing infrastructure of cooling water intake, discharge outfalls and on-site storage tanks. The project was completed without a single Lost Time Incident over the 300,000 man hours required for construction, commissioning, and operation.

The desalination plant features granular media filtration pretreatment and a two-pass SWRO system. The SWRO technology was supplied by GrahamTek. The technology uses 16-inch spiral wound reverse osmosis elements incorporated with an integrated flow distributor and electromagnetic field device. Advantages of this technology include a reduced footprint and capability to operate at higher flow rates of about 1.5 times that of conventional SWRO technologies – resulting in lower capital and operating costs.

Company Supplies Membrane modules for first Installation in Eastern Europe

Koch Membrane Systems (KMS) has supplied its Puron® submerged membrane modules to Poland for use in a new industrial wastewater treatment system. It will be the first installation of the company’s membrane technology in Eastern Europe.

Sokpol Koncentraty, based in Zagloba, is one of the largest producers of fruit juice in Poland. The plant had been using an under-dimensioned moving bed reactor, but a lack of space for expanding the existing system led to the decision to convert it into a more effective and efficient membrane bioreactor (MBR). MBR technology using the KMS modules also proved to be the most economic solution among the options considered. The plant has been operating successfully since its commissioning in Summer 2007.

The MBR was installed and commissioned by the Polish engineering company PP-EKO, an existing OEM for KMS, which also installed SuperCor modules from KMS for chemical industry applications. The specification of further KMS equipment is a testament to the effectiveness of its technology and the satisfaction of its customers.

"The use of Puron technology is growing steadily in Europe and around the world. The interest currently being expressed by other customers means we are confident this installation for Sokpol is just the first of many in Eastern Europe," said Jan Hadler, Sales Manager at KMS.

KMS’ Puron membrane modules can significantly improve water quality while using less space than conventional alternatives. The submerged modules contain bundles of hollow fiber membranes into which compressed air is then introduced in the center of the fiber bundle. The single header design and the effective aeration system ensures optimal solids management, high flow rate and reliable operation while using 50 percent less energy than other MBR systems.

Desalination, Water Reuse set for Growth

A new global water market forecast published by Global Water Intelligence suggests that the market for desalination and water reuse technology will expand rapidly. Global desalination capacity is expected to increase from 52 million m³/d in 2008 to 107 million m³/d in 2016. Over the same period, advanced wastewater reuse will see capacity triple from 20 million cubic meter to 60 million m³/d.

Over the decade 2007-2016 $64 billion will be spent on building desalination plants around the world, and £25.6 billion on advanced water reuse projects.

"Across the world millions of people are dependent on non-renewable water: they are draining the aquifers and depleting the rivers. What is left becomes mineralized, threatening ecosystems and reducing agricultural yields," said Christopher Gasson.

"People in the developing world are eating more protein, which means more water is needed to grow animal feeds. They also want to grow more crops for biofuel. This puts pressure on food prices, but the real story is in water. That is the ultimate limiting factor. And with urban demand for water growing apace, the only solution is to make more of what we have got.

"That means demand management, desalination, and water reuse. Global Water Market 2008 paints a picture of the emergence of a robust global industry. However, the environmental and human cost of getting it wrong is clear."

Among the companies expected to gain from the growth of this market are: General Electric, Veolia Environment, Suez, Siemens, Acciona, Abengoa, Christ Water Technologies, Hyflux.

For further details on the forecast, Global Water Market 2008: Opportunities in Scarcity and Environmental Regulation, published by Global Water Intelligence, see:

Veolia Water wins two contracts in Dubai

Veolia Water, through its subsidiary Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS), has won two contracts in Dubai for wastewater and brackish water treatment and recycling installations, worth a total of 22.4 million Euros. The contracts have been awarded for two prestigious sites: Palm Jumeirah Island and the Burj Dubai Tower. VWS will be using its own patented technologies for the treatment and recycling of wastewater.

The first contract, awarded by Palm Water, a subsidiary of Nakheel, a real-estate group that is itself part of the Dubai World Group. It covers turnkey delivery of a recycling wastewater installation on Palm Jumeirah island, one of three artificial islands created in the Persian Gulf that will double the shoreline of the city of Dubai.

This artificial island in the shape of a date palm tree is an economic and luxury tourist center housing hotels, houses, shopping malls and leisure facilities. With the aim of optimizing the water cycle on the island, a large proportion of the wastewater generated by its booming tourist activity will be recycled for irrigation, landscaping and for air-conditioning production facilities. To guarantee the highest water quality, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) will be using Biosep® membrane filtration technology.

The contract is worth 12.1 million Euros for VWS. The recycling facility, located alongside the existing wastewater treatment plant, will on its own have a treatment capacity of 17,000 cubic meters/day. The installation will be delivered in 2008.

The second contract is for treatment of the water in the artificial lake bordering the Burj Dubai Tower, which will be the world’s highest on completion. It has been awarded to Veolia Water, through its subsidiary Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, by property developer Emaar Properties, one of the largest groups in the United Arab Emirates. Burj Dubai is part of a gigantic complex totaling 26 million m², which will include residential, commercial, and hotel infrastructure, leisure and entertainment facilities and a 300,000 cubic meter artificial lake, intended to be one of the most spectacular elements of the complex.

The contract won by VWS is worth a total of 10.3 million Euros. It includes turnkey delivery of the installation for treating the water of the artificial lake in Spring 2009, and management of the plant for a period of three years. The lake will be fed by previously treated stormwater and topped up with freshwater to offset evaporation. The lake water will be treated in closed circuit on a three-day cycle.

The treatment plant, with a capacity of 62,400 cubic meters/day, houses the specific stormwater treatment facility and recycling equipment treating all the water in the lake using VWS technologies: four ActifloO® modules, four Hydrotech® disc filters, an Actidyne reverse osmosis membrane treatment module, and a post-treatment water remineralization and sludge treatment module.

“The spectacular development of Dubai is generating substantial infrastructure requirements, particularly in the field of water. Located in a region with very limited water resources, Dubai needs to acquire sophisticated technological solutions for water treatment and recycling, like those that Veolia Water will be installing on Palm Jumeirah Island and for the Burj Dubai Tower, to support its ambitious economic and tourist projects,” said Antoine Frérot, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Water.

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is a world leader in water and wastewater services.

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