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Home | Tag Archives: Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant

Tag Archives: Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant

El Paso Water awarded $2.05m grant to expand Hutchison Desalination Plant

Wednesday afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced $14.1 million in grants to Texas military communities, with El Paso and El Paso Water landing a portion of the grant money.

El Paso Water officials say they are the beneficiary of $2.05 million for the expansion of El Paso Water’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

When he made the announcement, Governor Abbott stated that “now more than ever  this support is critical as military installations in Texas add $101 billion to the state’s economy and support, directly and indirectly, more than 224,000 jobs in communities across this great state.”

“El Paso Water and the Fort Bliss Public Works Directorate have collaborated to develop a set of joint priorities to improve water and mission resiliency,” said John Balliew, EPWater President and CEO. “The KBH Plant expansion is the number one priority identified that will benefit both Fort Bliss and the City of El Paso. We thank Fort Bliss and the City of El Paso for collaborating with us on this grant application.”

Utility officials released the following statement:

El Paso Water is pleased with the Governor’s announcement today that El Paso Water has been awarded $2.05 million toward expansion of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination (KBH) Plant.

Along with the $2.05 awarded from the Bureau of Reclamation, the grant will double the utility’s investment of $4.1 million to help with the Blend Well Collector Pipeline Project, which is the first step in the two-part expansion of KBH.

The $8.2 million project will enable construction of a pipeline to deliver source water that is approximately 7 miles away into the KBH plant. The second phase of the expansion will be the addition of a fifth reverse osmosis skid.

When both parts of the expansion are complete, KBH will have a production capacity of 33.5 million gallons (MGD) per day. Its current capacity is 27.5 MGD.

The grant award was announced Wednesday by Governor Greg Abbott. El Paso is one of six Texas military communities selected to receive Defense Economic Adjustment Assistant Grant  (DEAAG) from the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC).

El Paso Water Hosts Asian Leaders; Sustainability, Resource Management Key Topics

They traveled from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to learn about El Paso Water. By the end of their visit, it became clear what the star attraction of their visit was – the groundbreaking Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

On July 9, special visitors from the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program absorbed an enlightening earful from Water Supply Manager Ruben Rodriguez and Art Ruiz, KBH Superintendent, during their trip to El Paso.

The nine current and emerging leaders from Southeast Asia and their two liaisons came to EPWater to hear more about cross-border water resource management while touring the United States for the international program.

During the foreign leaders’ short-term stays in the U.S., visitors were urged to cultivate business relationships with their American counterparts in four cities. Other cities on their agenda were Buffalo, Albuquerque, and Portland.

Aside from EPWater, visitors also met with representatives of the International Boundary and Water Commission and El Paso County Water Improvement District #1.

Rodriguez presented the visitors with a complete overview of EPWater and its facilities, offering a glimpse of the challenges of being situated within the Chihuahuan Desert.

“I described some of the issues we have had lately with drought conditions and how we have been creative with our water sources – like desalination,” Rodriguez said.

Afterward, Ruiz led the special visitors on a tour of the largest inland desalination plant in the world, which has drawn visitors from around the globe and produced 17 billion gallons of water since opening in 2007.

“They were fascinated with the KBH,” Ruiz said. “They were impressed with its operation, the automation and its success.”

Araceli L. McCoy, executive director of the El Paso Council for International Visitors, accompanied the group during the EPWater tour and said the visitors lavished praise on Ruiz for his professionalism and Rodriguez, who they said helped them to understand the technology used by EPWater that results in a clean, safe product.


Visitors expressed surprise at the size of the plant and how salty water is transformed into clean, clear drinking water, McCoy said.

Both Rodriguez and Ruiz know EPWater left a lasting impression on the visitors, judging by the reactions and questions they were getting on desalination and the environment.

“I hope they concluded [from the presentation] that they have the ability to do something like this in their homeland,” Ruiz said. “The desalination plant is a proven success, and we showed it can be done in the desert. It’s difficult but achievable.”

“I wanted them to know that despite our location, El Paso Water has solutions to the challenges,” Rodriguez added. “We are making sure that we are supplying the water that customers need, and we are moving toward innovative solutions and new technology to boost our sustainability in El Paso.”


El Pasoans help Provide Clean Water Abroad; UTEP Researchers get Eye-Opening Experience in Honduras

For many of us in El Paso, save for a lapse in payment or water main break, we expect water to come out of the faucet when we turn on our taps. But for many in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, potable water is a precious commodity – one that most locals do not take for granted.

Malynda Cappelle, associate director of the Center for Inland Desalination Systems (CIDS) at the University of Texas at El Paso, spent her summer testing technology that could make a difference in the lives of thousands of people living in Honduras and eventually in other developing countries.

Funded by a grant from Securing Water for Food, the solar-powered Zero Discharge Desalination (ZDD) system is a combination of two processes capable of achieving zero liquid discharge while desalinating water.

Desalination is a process that removes salt and other contaminants from brackish water – resulting in clean drinking water and a waste discharge.

ZDD leaves no liquid waste discharge at the end of the process but does produce a solid byproduct that can be used by farmers. The entire process is solar-powered.

The team pilot-tested the technology at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant prior to leaving for Honduras.

The UTEP researchers – Cappelle, W. Shane Walker and ZDD inventor Thomas Davis – earned a grant for the work after placing second (behind MIT) in the Desal Prize, a competition that challenged researchers to treat enough water for a small 40-acre farm. The technology they used had to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.

Cappelle pic3While in Tegucigalpa, Cappelle and her colleague Clara Borrego briefly experienced the same frustration many locals often face: access to clean water.

“We ran out of water in our apartment, and we had to wait for water to be delivered,” Cappelle said. “In the area where we lived, water is delivered to houses once or twice per month, so people are storing all that water in a tank above or below their homes.”

Implementing the technology presented new challenges on a daily basis.

“The goal of a pilot is to find limits, so you can find where to make your system more reliable,” Cappelle noted.

The UTEP team worked with counterparts from the Universidad Politécnica de Ingeniería. The group also provided training sessions and tours with various officials and rural water systems. Once up and running, the ZDD system could treat approximately 8,250 liters of water in a 24-hour period.

Future funding sources could be used to develop a company in Honduras that would build these ZDD systems and sell them to farmers and local communities.

“One goal of our project was to evaluate ways to provide more municipal water because it’s something that everybody needs,” Cappelle said. Cappelle emphasized the cost efficiency of water desalination as compared to other options, such as importation. Her team will continue to collaborate with the Universidad Politécnica de Ingeniería to develop their technical knowledge of ZDD.

“If you can make desalination energy efficient and you can reduce the waste, it’s going to be a great thing for the rest of the world,” she added.

Cappelle said that in addition to providing a valuable service to Honduras and other developing countries, the ZDD technology has the potential to benefit EPWater and other users of desalination processes because of cost efficiencies over more conventional desalination processes.

Story + Video: El Paso ISD Students learn About the Environment

EPISD students visited the TecH2O Center and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant this week to learn about the importance of water conservation as part of the two-week Ecosystems camp.

Students are encouraged to investigate the world around them to learn about how animals and plants interact in their environment. The camp, which is part of EPISD’s Summer Enrichment Program, catered to third- and fifth-grade students.

“We are teaching them about ecosystems. It’s a lot of hands-on, project-based learning,” Moreno Elementary teacher Jackie Turner said. “It’s important because it encompasses all the life sciences so they are learned about life cycles and habitats.”

news2_2482_mThe TecH2O Center allows visitors to learn about water conservation, which is imperative to survival in the southwest environment.

“I like this place. They taught us how to save water, like taking short showers instead of baths,” student Olivia Guzman said. “In our ecosystem we don’t get a lot of water. It’s really dry, so we have to do what we can to help.”

The students got an up close and personal look at the largest inland desalination plant in the United States to learn about the process of removing salt and minerals from water to make it suitable for human consumption.

“They are learning to see how we get our water in the Chihuahuan Desert, whether it is from an underground source, surface water from thenews_2482_m Rio Grande, as well as the process of desalination to make the water potable,” TecH2O volunteer Jim Rodgers said.

After touring the facility the students had the opportunity to be researchers with a hands-on activity to “test” water samples and detect vertebrates.

For fifth-grader Jesus Rodriguez this is his first time participating in a summer enrichment program, but he is happy he joined.

“It’s cool because we learned a lot of stuff, and I’ve made a lot of friends,” Jesus said. “They showed us how water is really important to humans, plants and animals.”

Summer enrichment camps like this are important because they promote learning outside of the classroom.

“They have been having so much fun,” Turner said. “We get feedback at the end of each day, and one thing they always say is that they learn a lot.”


State Awards $2m Grant to City for Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant

Thursday, the Governor’s Texas Military Preparedness Commission awarded a $2 million grant to the City of El Paso for the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

The grant will partially fund the City of El Paso’s partnership with Enviro Water Minerals Company to convert waste generated from the desalination process into drinkable water.

El Paso State Senator José Rodríguez said, “Adequate, reliable sources of water are critical for ensuring Fort Bliss remains one of the largest physical military installations in the country. The Army’s investments of infrastructure, and troops and support personnel from around the nation, are vital to El Paso’s continued economic prosperity.”

Sen. Rodriguez added,  “I’m grateful that the State values El Paso’s special relationship with Fort Bliss. This grant award increases the value of the City of El Paso and federal government’s initial investments to create the pioneering Kay Bailey Hutchison Plant, the world’s largest inland desalination plant.”

The grant was awarded via the state’s Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) program, an infrastructure grant program designed to assist military cities that may be impacted by a change in federal defense contracts.

As a result of substantial advocacy from military communities, including El Paso, the legislature appropriated $30 million for DEAAG grants in the most recent legislative session, which ended in June 2015.

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