CDM-designed GWR System Wins Award

The 70-million-gallon-per-day Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System in Orange County, Calif., won a Grand Award in Design in the 2008 American Academy of Environmental Engineers Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition. It was designed by CDM, a consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm.

This groundbreaking $480-million project, which converts highly treated wastewater into an indirect potable water source, officially went online on Jan. 25, 2008. The academy presented the award to CDM at a ceremony on April 30 in Washington, D.C.

Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District hired CDM to design a solution that would meet the increased demand for potable water while minimizing the impact of extended area droughts. The expandable GWR System treats effluent with a multi-barrier approach—microfiltration for pretreatment, reverse osmosis for purification, and ultraviolet light for disinfection—removing bacteria, emerging contaminants, chemicals, and viruses. Following treatment, the purified water is injected into an underground seawater barrier or percolated into aquifers before becoming part of the drinking water supply for county residents. This solution takes advantage of water that was formerly discharged into the ocean, helping to protect the environment and providing a new water source for the county.

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