Swansea Desalination Facility, Swansea Water District | Swansea, MA, US

Developing new water supply from alternative sources using desalination technologies is an affordable and sustainable option to meet rising demand in resource-challenged areas. Once considered impaired, brackish water, seawater, and in some instances, municipal wastewater, agricultural drainage and industrial/commercial wastewaters, are viable sources that should be evaluated when planning for future supply needs.

High-pressure membrane systems like nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) generally are the technologies of choice for treating impaired water sources. Primarily designed to remove dissolved salts (desalination and brackish water treatment), NF and RO will remove nearly everything, including very small organic compounds. Desalination technologies have matured over time and become more cost-effective and accessible to markets in need of advanced treatment. Fortunately, as the technology has improved, capital costs have dropped considerably and performance reliability has increased due to a better understanding of how to optimize operations.

Successfully implementing desalination projects requires thorough planning at the beginning–specifically understanding source water characteristics and finished water quality goals, permitting and site requirements, and incorporating concentrate minimization/management and membrane optimization practices into system operations before construction begins.

We have conducted extensive applied research to understand membrane performance and optimize operation while minimizing long-term costs. For example, recent research shows that better pretreatment and establishing standard operating procedures to optimize operations can help lower energy costs. Our professionals also developed a proven approach to piloting and procuring membrane systems that puts the client's needs before the vendor's requirements.

Our experience covers the full spectrum of project development from cost benefit analyses, siting and permitting new facilities, water quality studies and pilot evaluations, to plant design, construction and system operation. As a full service consulting firm, we provide comprehensive services that include funding assistance, public outreach, sustainable planning, technology selection and procurement, and alternate project delivery.