Black & Veatch Selected to Design Advanced Water Purification System | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Selected to Design Advanced Water Purification System

The facility is part of regional agreement to expand water reuse in California’s Santa Clara County

The California city of Palo Alto has selected global critical infrastructure solutions leader Black & Veatch to design an advanced water purification system (AWPS) as part of an agreement to expand water reuse in Santa Clara County.

The new AWPS will be at the city’s Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP), which treats wastewater from six communities. The AWPS will employ microfiltration (MF) or ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technologies to reduce the total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration of the city’s recycled water supply.

The system is being funded under an agreement between Valley Water – provider of drinking water, flood protection and environmental stewardship to two million residents in Santa Clara County – and the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View. The agreement – a major milestone toward Valley Water’s goal to double water reuse in the county by 2025 – includes provisions for Valley Water’s significant financial participation in the AWPS as well as for securing the rights to the Palo Alto’s effluent over a long period of time for the future potable-reuse project. 

“Water reuse – in this case, purifying treated wastewater – creates a drought-proof supply that is desperately needed in areas where water is increasingly scarce and in high demand,” said Daniel Lopez, senior project manager with Black & Veatch. “This regional partnership between Palo Alto, Mountain View and Valley Water is important because it will increase the quality and usability of recycled water in Santa Clara County. This will increase the sustainability and resilience of the potable supply for multiple communities for years to come.”

Designed to initially produce 1.125 million gallons a day (mgd) and accommodate a future expansion to 2.25 mgd of production, the AWPS will enhance the quality of the tertiary-treated recycled water now produced. This will allow the city to expand its use of recycled water for irrigation of salt-sensitive landscaping and for cooling towers. It also will serve as a test bed to pilot emerging advanced water treatment technologies and demonstrate treatment effectiveness on the city’s effluent, which will be used for a future potable-reuse project to be implemented offsite by Valley Water (formerly the Santa Clara Valley Water District).

In selecting Black & Veatch to design the AWPS, Palo Alto city staff said the company “provided a more comprehensive approach” and “demonstrated a clear understanding of the project and proposed innovative solutions to some of the most important challenges.” The city also referenced Black & Veatch’s proven expertise in the design of AWPS systems, including the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center operated by Valley Water at the San Jose Water Pollution Control Plant.


Editor’s Notes:

  • The AWPS will be owned by the city of Palo Alto and operated and maintained by the city’s RWQCP staff.
  • Palo Alto’s RWQCP produces approximately 230 million gallons of tertiary-treated recycled water annually. It has a permitted dry weather capacity of 39 mgd, annual average treated flow of 19 mgd, and a wet weather capacity of 80 mgd.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2020 exceeded US$3.0 billion. Follow us on and on social media.

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