West Basin is currently conducting a groundbreaking study on how ultra-pure water, made through ocean-water desalination, could be introduced into existing tap water distribution systems. The study will identify the right mix of minerals to stabilize the ultra-pure desalinated water so when mixed with other sources, it can safely make its way to local residents and businesses. The four-month long study will be completed in the winter of 2013. The results of the study will be posted on the District’s website (www.westbasin.org) to help other water agencies who may need to research integration of similar ultra-pure water into their distribution systems in the future.
By blending imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River, local ground or well water, and water from the District’s Ocean-Water Desalination Demonstration Facility, West Basin will be able to review how these different types of waters can be safely integrated into a piping system for distribution. The research study will incorporate large, imported water distribution pipes six inches in diameter; local water distribution pipes four inches in diameter; and home plumbing pipes of one-half inch in diameter. Pipes used in the study include unlined cast iron pipes, cement motor-lined steel pipes and copper piping similar to that used in homes. Various mixes of water will be run through loops of these pipes and then tested to ensure there is no leaching of unwanted metals into the water, which would indicate corrosion of the piping materials.
As population growth, climate change and environmental restoration require more and more water supplies, future water sources will come from wastewater or ocean water purified with reverse osmosis technology. As conventional sources of water diminish, even with increased water conservation, new sources of water will come from purification processes that make ultra-pure water.
West Basin is currently conducting this research as part of its study of ocean-water desalination. The District has a full scale Ocean-Water Desalination Demonstration facility in Redondo Beach on the campus of the SEA Lab Aquarium. This study will ensure that high-quality desalinated ocean-water can be safely integrated into existing water supplies should West Basin build an ocean-water desalination facility in the future.