Environmental Protection

Mid-Dakota Water Turns to Ultrafiltration to Increase Capacity

The Mid-Dakota Rural Water System faced a major challenge when it decided to increase the water treatment capacity at its plant north of Pierre, S.D., Due to the poor soil conditions at the site, expanding the operations with conventional treatment technology was not feasible. The water district turned to GE’s ZeeWeed advanced filtration technology for a solution.

The immersed membrane technology will be used to retrofit the existing filter cells at the plant. Under the contract, GE will supply four trains of ZeeWeed-1000 immersed membranes, which is expected to increase the water treatment plant’s drinking water capacity from 9 million gallons per day (mgd) to 13.5 mgd. Once the project is completed in November 2011, the water treatment plant will be the largest ultrafiltration membrane facility in the state.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, South Dakota uses about 500 mgd, and approximately 54 percent of this water comes from groundwater and 46 percent from surface water. The biggest water uses in the state are irrigation and public supply. According to the USGS report, there has been an increase in the number of people obtaining water for household purposes from public water systems and a decrease in the number of people using private wells.

“We were searching for a reliable and efficient way to increase our supply of drinking water,” said Kurt Pfeifle, general manager of the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. “We’re very pleased that GE is able to supply a technology solution that meets our requirements.”

ZeeWeed membrane technology uses immersed hollow-fiber membranes to separate particles from water using microscopic pores. This technology removes virtually all harmful pathogens and suspended solids.

“This water treatment project, the first for GE in South Dakota, is a great example of how membrane technology can be used for plant expansions,” said Steve Watzeck, president of engineered systems—water & process technologies for GE Power & Water.

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