VIDEO: Largest Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination Facility in the Americas × Alternative Water Supply To make it happen, BHP needed the most efficient and technologically advanced desalination plant, as well as the conveyance system and associated infrastructure that would carry demineralized water more than 100 miles from the ocean to the mine. The mining giant chose Black & Veatch as the engineer of record to lead the design, procurement, project controls, resident engineering, pre-commissioning and commissioning for the marine works and desalination components of the Escondida Water Supply (EWS) project. Black & Veatch also conducted the conceptual design, capital expenditure (CAPEX) estimate, operation expenditure (OPEX) estimate, and execution schedule. The project scope was for the water conveyance and storage system, the high-voltage substations and transmission lines, and a new private communication network for the mining operation. The network included supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), voice over internet protocol (VoIP), security video, and fire protection circuits. The seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination facility, in the Atacama Desert of Chile’s Antofagasta Region, is now the largest in the Americas. It produces 57 million gallons per day of water for the Escondida mine. A remote-controlled micro-tunnel boring machine created a 1,740-foot-long tunnel within the sea. Part of the project required the use of a remote-controlled micro-tunnel boring machine, which was used to create a 1,740-foot-long tunnel to capture water deep within the sea. “This allowed us to get a water quality and consistency that eliminated some pretreatment processes, making the desalination process even more efficient. We also used modular designs for the plant, which saved time, increased productivity and improved safety during construction and results in lower operation and maintenance costs.” Rene Dominguez, Black & Veatch Associate Vice President and Project Manager Major Achievements Black & Veatch worked about 1.9 million worker-hours without a recordable safety incident, even first aid. Another significant accomplishment was the application of lean processes for the media and membrane loading processes, which were critical components of the commissioning schedule. Over 1,000 confined entry permits were required to load media without any incidents. The company also designed rigging methods to eliminate the man-machine interaction. The process operated like a production line, saving critical days from the schedule. To complete the project safely, on time and with the highest quality standards, Black & Veatch placed significant resources behind these processes to deliver the finished desalination facility. Black & Veatch professionals from multiple U.S. states, the UK, India and Chile contributed to the project. “On major projects like this, there are always ups and downs, but our team handled them with such professionalism that we didn’t get caught up in the emotional aspects of the six-year project. Our focus was on the client and what was best for the project.” Brady Hays, Black & Veatch Vice President and Escondida Project Director Black & Veatch earned the Distinction Award for Desalination Company of the Year at the 2016 Global Water Summit. In 2017, the EWS project won the Industrial Desalination Plant of the Year honor at the summit. BHP also has sole-source awarded the Escondida Water Supply Expansion (EWSE) Project to Black & Veatch. The EWSE Project will expand the water production capacity by 800 liters per second (lps) and the water conveyance capacity by 1,400 lps. The EWSE Project comprises engineering, procurement, construction management services, pre-commissioning and commissioning services. The project began in June 2017 and is expected to be complete in May 2019. Project Gallery Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you. 0 Related Insights How are the Largest U.S. Cities Managing Rising Costs for Water and Sewer Services? According to respondents in the 2018-2019 50 Largest Cities Water & Wastewater Rate Survey, utilities are modifying how they charge for services to address revenue stability and affordability concerns. With Grid Modernization, Utilities Poised For Most Visible Transformation The annual Strategic Directions Report series offers analysis and insights into key issues and trends facing the smart cities and utilities, electric, natural gas, and water utility sectors. Designing Mines with Water in Mind Climate change, a growing global population and accelerating urbanization are deepening concern over the world’s water security. Smart Infrastructure Can Unlock Water Efficiency in Mining A surge in technological advances over the past decade or two are designed to ensure that good water management in mining operations. The emergence of Big Data and smart infrastructure – and the improved levels of systems intelligence they supply – will help mining companies achieve growth and sustainability goals. Digital Water There’s huge potential to reap the true benefits of advances in digital water future, no matter what stage of the journey you are on. Related Project Stories Lifting the Burdens of Capital Improvement Programs For more than 20 years, Black & Veatch worked with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission to upgrade its wastewater treatment system on a project-by-project basis. There were many short-term wins, but resilience dated master plan made the long-term a bit less clear. The real win, and biggest cost savings, required a different approach. Water Reuse Provides Cost Savings to City, Avocado Farmers The city of Escondido, Calif., had converging challenges. It had too much wastewater and not enough potable water. The answer: water reuse. A Wastewater Treatment Plant that Pays for Itself Black & Veatch is the designer and builder of a new, $35 million solids treatment system for the Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Plant in Medina County, Ohio. The system provides energy performance savings and other sustainable benefits through an innovative Design-Build Performance Contract. As a result, the county expects to be able to pay for the new system without increasing customer rates. New Ulu Pandan Demonstration Plant Sets the Global Standard for Water Innovation The Ulu Pandan Wastewater Treatement Demonstration Center has a treatment capacity of 12,500m3/day, and serves to test advanced water treatment technologies before deploying them on a larger scale at Tuas Water Reclamation Plant in the future. Industrial Wastewater Treatment Keeps Power Facilities Compliant A large utility located in the Midwest needed to build a low volume wastewater (LVW) treatment system to improve to two of its coal-burning plants necessitated by the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule.