Calif. brackish water desalination facility earns 2005 ACEC National Honor Award

CDM Inc. project is Northern California's first large-scale membrane desalination facility...

FREMONT, CA, April 12, 2005 -- The Alameda County Water District (ACWD) Newark brackish water desalination plant has received the 2005 National Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Over the last 30 years, the number of customers in the ACWD has more than doubled. To meet this rising demand and improve the quality and reliability of year-round water supply, CDM partnered with ACWD to build the first large-scale brackish water desalination facility in Northern California. Through innovative application of emerging water treatment technologies, CDM designed an energy-efficient, 5-million-gallon-per-day plant that transformed a previously unusable water source into high-quality drinking water. Tapping into this local water source is also increasing water supply reliability by reducing reliance on importing water from a different region.

CDM pilot tested and designed a water treatment plant using a low-pressure reverse osmosis (RO) system, which takes advantage of semi-permeable membranes that allow water molecules to pass through, while stopping dissolved minerals that contribute salt and hardness. The treatment of this water also contributes to an aquifer reclamation program designed to correct saltwater intrusion into the groundwater basin as a result of previous over-pumping associated with agricultural activities. The plant pumps high-saline water out of the ground so that freshwater can move in to take its place, without unbalancing system hydrology.

The plant provides high-quality drinking water to 21,000 homes (10% of the district's total water production) at operating costs of less than $0.70 per 1,000 gallons. In addition to treating water that had been considered a marginal source for more than 25 years, CDM worked with ACWD and stakeholders to create a plant that is energy efficient and environmentally sound. The plant also allowed ACWD to transform a poorly drained industrial lot with limited commercial value into a community asset.

CDM provided integrated planning, pilot testing, permitting assistance, preliminary design, final design, construction management, and start-up services for the project.

CDM Inc. (, of Cambridge, Mass., is a consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm delivering exceptional service to public and private clients improve worldwide. It's also known as Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc.


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