Long Beach, Los Angeles to build seawater desalination plant

Oct. 16, 2002
The Long Beach Water Department and the L.A. Department of Water and Power have agreed to construct and operate a desalination prototype plant in Long Beach, CA.

LONG BEACH, Calif., Oct. 16, 2002 -- The Long Beach Water Department and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) have entered into a cooperative agreement to construct and operate the Long Beach Water Department's Desalination Prototype Plant at LADWP's Haynes Generation Station, located at 6801 Westminster Avenue, in Long Beach, CA.

Through a federal cost-sharing partnership with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Long Beach will build and operate a 250,000 gallon-per-day, research and development facility at the Haynes Generation Station. LADWP will provide land and power in exchange for free use of the Long Beach Water Department's patent-pending desalination technology and prototype research data. Design work on the prototype plant has begun.

On September 9, 2002, the Long Beach Water Department entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Bureau of Reclamation that allows the federal government to provide up to 50 percent of the prototype plant's $5.3 million total cost.

"Our strategic partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and now the LADWP, will be used to further demonstrate the viability of our unique technology, identify the optimum pretreatment process, optimize power consumption, and address brine disposal issues, among many other things," stated Kevin L. Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department.

"LADWP is looking forward to its partnership with the Long Beach Water Department. It demonstrates our agencies' commitment to developing a new resource that will provide for future water supply reliability to our service areas in a cost-effective manner. Seawater desalination is definitely in our future water resources plans," stated Gerald Gewe, Assistant General Manager of Water for LADWP. "This program will assist us in expeditiously researching and developing technically and economically viable methods to desalt seawater to supplement our traditional water supplies."

I'm very proud of the Long Beach Water Department's accomplishments in the area of seawater desalination. Our Department recognizes the importance of water supply reliability and affordability to the City's economy and our resident's quality of life," stated City of Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill. "I'm delighted that we will be working with LADWP on this exciting project."

"LADWP has always looked decades ahead in planning for the City's water needs. Even as we continue to use water wisely, the real test will be in finding new water supplies," said Mary E. Leslie, Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Board of Water and Power. "With the results of this joint effort we can refine the process, bring down the costs and add desalination to Los Angeles' portfolio of water supply resources."

The Long Beach Water Department has developed an innovative process for desalting seawater using membrane technology. This patent-pending process has been tested on a small scale for nearly one year, and is now ready for studies to determine the feasibility of constructing a full-scale desalination plant.

Exhaustive testing has shown the patent-pending technology to be 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than more widely used methods. Because desalinating seawater requires large amounts of energy, improved energy efficiency is critical to making seawater desalination cost effective for Long Beach and other California cities.

Drought and imminent reductions in the amount of water Southern California is allowed to take off the Colorado, while our economy and population continue to grow, threaten the limited reliability we now enjoy. Seawater desalination, coupled with conjunctive use, reclaimed water and conservation, will provide Long Beach a hedge against the uncertainty in the long-term reliability and affordability of imported water supplies.

Source: Long Beach Water Department

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