The Campo Dalías desalination plant, one of the biggest in Europe, will begin producing more than 97 million liters of desalinated water per day beginning next month, according to Veolia, which designed, built and will operate the 130 million Euros ($144 million) facility.
The desalination plant will supply drinking water to 300,000 people and allow the irrigation of 8,000 hectares in the western part of the Andalusian province of Almeria, in the south of Spain.
Designed and built by Veolia Water Technologies’ Spanish office as part of a joint venture, the Campo Dalías desalination facility has a current capacity of 97,200 cubic meters per day, and can be expanded to 129,600 m3/d should extra capacity be needed in the future.
Veolia Water Technologies Spain will also take on the operation of the plant for 15 years, starting in November, together with its joint venture partners.
Construction of the plant was completed last year. A total of 12,810 membranes were fitted and 41 km of distribution pipelines were constructed. The plant includes 730 control instruments and more than 3,000 pieces of electromechanical equipment have been installed, both static and rotating.
The start-up of Campo Dalías desalination plant will have a positive environmental impact in the region: the use of available water resources through desalination will allow the natural regeneration of the aquifers and avoid their agricultural overexploitation.
The process begins with the intake of the raw water via a 1.6 kilometer-long submarine pipe. The water is first pretreated by a battery of 40 double-stage filters before going to the double-pass reverse osmosis. The first pass consists of six reverse osmosis skids, which are equipped with an energy recovery system (ERS) in the form of isobaric chambers. This allows the recovery of up to 95 percent of the brine pressure, which is then transferred to the feed in order to reduce pumping requirements. A second reverse osmosis pass with six skids is required to reduce boron concentration under 0.5 mg/l to comply with irrigation requirements.
The desalinated water is then post-treated through remineralization and a final disinfection step ensures that the output water reaching the delivery points is suitable for both human consumption and irrigation. The water distribution network is also part of the work scope and includes a 41 km gravity distribution network to deliver the produced water to end-users.