The West Texas city of Abilene has completed an installation of General Electric’s 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, the city is continuing is efforts to prepare for water scarcity issues in the future as chronic droughts and population growth have reduced reservoir levels to 30 percent capacity.
The Hamby Wastewater and Reuse Project is the first part of a multi-phase drought response initiative aimed at addressing the city’s 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.
According to Scott Hibbs, president of the Texas-based civil, environmental and geotechnical engineering firm of Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, 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.
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. More than 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology.