Santa Clara Valley Water District

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Client: Santa Clara Valley Water District
Project: Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center
Location: San Jose, California

Increasing the Precious Water Supply Throughout California's Silicon Valley

“This facility is our look into the future. Black & Veatch was with us all along the way to allow us to prepare, plan and deliver a facility like this.”
Jim Fiedler
Chief Operating Officer,
Santa Clara Valley Water District

Families and industrial customers in Silicon Valley may not realize what Black & Veatch has done for them and their communities. But they do understand that because of climate change and longer periods of drought, water is an ever more critical resource in California. 

Black & Veatch was chosen as the prime consultant for the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC). The project is a regional approach and cooperative effort between the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the city of San José. Black & Veatch’s services included preliminary and detailed design, construction and startup. 

The SVAWPC takes treated wastewater that otherwise would be discharged into San Francisco Bay; further treats it through microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light; and produces 8 million gallons a day of highly purified water for multiple reuse applications. The facility is a sustainable water resource that saves, and even possibly expands, the area’s precious drinking water supplies. 

The improved recycled water produced by the SVAWPC can be used for irrigation, landscaping, recreation, cooling water and industrial processes. In the future, if this plant is run at full capacity, it is expected to save approximately 3 billion gallons of potable water each year, significantly reducing pressure on drinking water supplies. 

Technology companies cooling large collections of computer servers; families enjoying watered public spaces and gardens; industrial customers using water more efficiently in their cooling towers – all will benefit from a significant increase in highly purified water for multiple reuse applications thanks to the partnership of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the city of San José and Black & Veatch.

Black & Veatch is building more than just the infrastructure that brings new or additional water resources to people everywhere. We are committed to a clean, safe and healthy environment. We are Building a World of Difference.

MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT

  • The Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center is located adjacent to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, a tertiary treatment plant that removes fine particles, nitrates and phosphates.

  • The water now being treated at the new purification center originates from the nitrification clarifier effluent channel at the wastewater plant.

  • After it is conveyed to the Silicon Valley plant, the water passes through one of four strainers capable of removing particles with diameters exceeding
    300 microns.

  • The water enters the microfiltration (MF) system, which comprises eight filter racks that operate in parallel. Each rack has 112 MF membrane modules, for a total of 896 modules, each containing more than 6,200 hollow fibers made of polyvinylidene fluoride. As the water is drawn through the pores into the center of the fibers, solids, bacteria, protozoa and some viruses are filtered out of the water.

  • Effluent from the MF system enters one of three reverse osmosis trains, each having 560 membrane elements, for a total of 1,680 elements. Wrapped in fiber-reinforced polymer, the spiral wound elements consist of thin-film polyamide composite membranes. Water is forced under high pressure through these membrane sheets in a process that removes constituents such as salts, any remaining viruses and most new contaminants of emerging concern, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products and pesticides.

  • The water is sent through ultraviolet disinfection chambers that emit strong ultraviolet light to inactivate any remaining viruses and break down some of the remaining trace organic compounds. This process acts as an additional safety measure.

  • After undergoing disinfection, the treated water enters a 2.25 million gallon storage tank.

  • The purified water is blended with effluent from the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility to create the enhanced recycled water distribution system.

  • Using proven, widely implemented technologies, the center produces purified water that is expected to match California’s primary drinking water standards.

  • The Santa Clara Valley Water District intends to analyze results from other areas in California where this approach is proving successful as it considers applying the technology to augment its drinking water supply in the future.