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Retrofit project doubles treatment plant capacity without shut down

BELEN, N.M.—New Mexico Water Service Company, a subsidiary of California Water Service Group, completed the first wastewater retrofit project of its kind at the company’s Rio Del Oro Wastewater Treatment Facility in the Rio Del Oro area between Belen and Los Lunas. "To our knowledge, nobody has ever retrofitted a wastewater plant with membrane bioreactor (MBR) microfiltration technology while keeping the plant fully operational," said General Manager Paul Risso. "We’re pleased to report that we did it while meeting all water quality standards for effluent."

The project also increases the plant’s treatment capacity from 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) to 200,000 gpd—with the potential for 800,000 gpd—and creates a higher quality output without increasing the plant’s footprint. Additionally, the retrofit project is estimated to cost approximately half what it would cost using traditional technology.

New Mexico Water Service Company partnered with Advanced Process Technologies, Enviroquip, Inc., and Kubota to complete the project.

"Now that we have demonstrated that this technology can be installed on a fully operational wastewater plant, other wastewater treatment operations will likely follow our lead," Risso said. "We believe others will see the value in this approach and will want to cut costs, improve wastewater discharge quality, and maintain the smallest footprint possible, as we have here."