SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With chronic droughts and population growth reducing reservoir levels to 30 percent capacity in the West Texas city of Abilene, the city recently completed the installation of GE’s (NYSE:GE) LEAPmbr* advanced wastewater treatment system as part of major upgrades to the Hamby Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Despite heavy rainfall that has eased conditions in recent weeks, civic leaders are continuing their efforts to prepare for water scarcity issues in the future.
The Hamby Wastewater and Reuse Project is the first part of a multi-phase drought response initiative aimed at addressing the city’s alarmingly low reservoir levels. By using GE’s treatment solution coupled with a reverse osmosis system downstream, the Hamby WWTP now can discharge more than 7 million gallons of treated wastewater a day into Lake Fort Phantom Hill, the city’s primary water supply reservoir, to protect the city from future drought conditions and increase clean water supplies for Abilene’s residents and businesses.
“GE’s experience delivering membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems along with the simple installation of the LEAPmbr system has allowed us to meet our compressed 14-month schedule and complete this successful project for the city of Abilene,” said Scott Hibbs, PE, president of the Texas-based civil, environmental and geotechnical engineering firm of Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc. (eHT), which oversaw the design and construction of the Hamby WWTP upgrades. “Because the LEAPmbr system is enabling the facility’s treated water to meet stringent Texas Commission on Environmental Quality water quality standards, the plant can discharge its advanced treated water directly into the reservoir and immediately help to begin to boost the city’s reservoir water levels.”
The Abilene WWTP’s upgrades were completed and commissioned in December 2014, just 14 months after GE received the order for its LEAPmbr system. By contrast, typical projects of this size normally take 24 to 30 months to complete.
For the project, GE’s LEAPmbr package included the design and supply of the entire membrane filtration scope along with several elements of the biological treatment process. The system’s filtration performance meets state effluent requirements and provides top-quality water to ensure efficient performance of the downstream reverse osmosis treatment system.
To help operators optimize asset performance and reduce costs, GE also will remotely monitor the Hamby WWTP via its InSight* software, a cloud-based data management platform that is part of GE’s Predictivity* suite of software solutions.
“We are extremely pleased to showcase how quickly GE’s LEAPmbr technology was installed to help the city of Abilene and how it can be used by other drought-stricken municipalities to treat and reuse more of their scarce water resources,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. “The investments made to upgrade the Hamby Wastewater Treatment Plant illustrate the role that our advanced water treatment solutions can play in enhancing the water security needs of millions of people.”
LEAPmbr builds on 25 years of experience to deliver the most advanced MBR solution to date. At the core of LEAPmbr is GE’s ZeeWeed* 500 membrane, an advanced ultrafiltration technology that separates solids, bacteria and viruses from water or wastewater. GE’s ZeeWeed ultrafiltration membranes offer an unmatched combination of performance, energy efficiency, durability, ease of operation and reliability. More than 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology to produce superior quality water.
The Abilene initiative comes as communities across the state of Texas seek to increase their infrastructure investments to address chronic drought conditions. According to the West Texas Water Partnership—a coalition of the cities of Abilene, San Angelo and Midland created to address their mutual long-term water needs—extreme drought conditions combined with a regional population explosion spurred by the West Texas oil boom have placed a severe strain on local water resources.
Today’s announcement was made in conjunction with the "The Economic Power of Water" event hosted by GE and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The event is bringing together both public and private organizations, as well as thought leaders in water policy and research, to explore the current challenges to unlocking the economic potential of water and to provide actionable next steps to create a more water- and energy-secure world.
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About GE Power & Water
GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar; biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world’s most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water’s six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Products, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE’s largest industrial business.
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