Officials in Sandoval County, the suburban-rural region to the north of Albuquerque’s metro area, are moving ahead with plans to build a plant to desalinate brackish groundwater, my ABQJournal colleague Rosalie Rayburn reports (sub/ad req?):
Sandoval County officials are forging ahead with plans for a desalination plant despite engineering, waste disposal and funding challenges.
County commissioners recently approved seeking bids to design a plant capable of processing 5 million gallons of water daily from a brackish aquifer in the Rio Puerco basin west of Rio Rancho.
Requests for bid proposals will likely go out this spring, or as soon as the state Environment Department finishes reviewing a feasibility report county staff submitted last week.
The report outlined the technology and costs for the proposed desalination plant along with potential energy sources and cost efficient methods of handling waste byproduct.
The county has spent nearly $7 million on the water project so far in hopes that it will support future industrial development for Sandoval County communities.
“We knew that we were faced with problems. This is not a simple project, but it’s something that we had to attempt to do to benefit the concerns of water in this corridor,” Commissioner Don Leonard said.
(5 million gallons per day ~ 5,600 acre feet per year, or enough water for 25,000 to 30,000 people for combined workplace and home consumption, given Albuquerque metro area consumption patterns)
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Any idea what they plan to do with the nasty stuff that is left over after processing the water?
Rosalie Rayburn (who wrote the Journal story) tells me the waste question is at this point unresolved. They’re hoping some of the extraced minerals will be economically recoverable, and they’re looking at reinjection in a separate geologic strata (which is what El Paso does).
Waste disposal is likely to continue to be a big and potentially expensive piece of the puzzle.