‘First-of-Kind’ Plant Converts Desalination Wastewater into Freshwater

KBH desalination plant

by | Feb 23, 2016

KBH desalination plantA commercial water plant located next to a desalination plant in Texas will convert wastewater from the desalination process into fresh drinking water, extracting contaminants and transforming them into reusable mineral products, and boosting El Paso’s drinking water supply.

This wastewater project is the result of a partnership between global water and waste giant Veolia and Texas-based Enviro Water Minerals (EWM), a company that is commercializing technology to recover the minerals discharged in wastewater from brackish water desalination plants.

The two companies say the new water treatment plant is the first of its kind globally.

EWM awarded Veolia a 10-year operations and maintenance agreement to manage its commercial water plant in El Paso. EWM has broken ground on the new water production and chemical manufacturing facility located next to the city’s Kay Bailey Hutchison (KBH) Desalination Plant, the world’s largest inland desalination plant.

This zero-discharge wastewater facility will be equipped with EWM’s technology to recover minerals and desalinated waste brine discharged from brackish water reverse osmosis. The plant will take the waste brine concentrate from the KBH Desalination Plant, extract and transform salts and minerals into commercial products, and produce more than 2 million gallons of drinkable water a day for the region.

“Waste brine disposal has long been the Achilles’ heel of inland desalination facilities,” EWM CEO Hubble Hausman said in a statement. “Our El Paso project will demonstrate that it is possible to produce multiple marketable chemical and mineral products from the waste brine while increasing the recovery of potable water and eliminating waste.”

The EWM plant is scheduled to begin operations in early 2017.

In other efforts to monetize wastewater, and use it to produce freshwater and energy, Veolia recently designed and built an onsite wastewater treatment plant for multinational food manufacturer Associated British Foods (Thailand). Veolia says the plant will allow ABF to handle its wastewater treatment needs on premise while also generating biogas.


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