GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Co., joined the city of Minneapolis for the opening tour of the city's new Columbia Heights water filtration plant—the world's largest potable ultrafiltration (UF) plant. The plant utilizes GE's UF solutions to provide up to 78 million gallons per day (mgd) of potable water to over half a million Minneapolis residents.
"Each day over a billion people around the globe do not have access to safe drinking water and as water safety concerns and more stringent regulatory standards continue to emerge, cities across the globe are looking for ways to help safeguard their water from harmful contaminants," said George Oliver, CEO, GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies. "UF solutions, as well as GE's other water scarcity solutions, aid cities like Minneapolis, in removing unsafe substances from water, so that they can decrease their chance of an incident, like the heart-breaking Milwaukee Cryptosporidium outbreak."
Cryptosporidium is a waterborne protozoa that is harmful for humans to ingest and can cause symptoms that include fever, weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, and death. In 1993, Milwaukee battled a Cryptosporidium outbreak that claimed the lives of an estimated 100 residents. The Milwaukee outbreak prompted the Minneapolis Water Works to conduct a feasibility study that examined the city's risk factors, as well as remedies, possible solutions and technologies that would help safeguard the city's water. Upon completion of the study, Minneapolis, with its Peer Review Panel and Citizens Advisory Committee, determined that GE's UF technology was best-suited to aid the city in protecting its citizens.
GE's UF technology is a pressure-driven technology that provides a physical barrier to pathogens and is commonly used to remove suspended solids, bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses in potable water production. The Minneapolis plant combines GE's UF technology with NORIT membrane technology—creating a complementary system that results in the extremely effective removal of hazardous waterborne microorganisms and contaminants. The nationally recognized California Department of Health Services gave ultrafiltration the highest removal rate credits available. GE's UF solutions are capable of delivering the following: consistent, superior water quality regardless of feed quality variations; dead-end operation resulting in low energy consumption; greater than 6 log (99.9999%) removal of Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia; highest certified removal of viruses - 4 log (99.99%); low chemical consumption; permeate SDI(15) less than 3; small system footprint and compact arrangement; and proven membrane life.
In addition to the opening of the city of Minneapolis' Columbia Heights plant, GE was recently awarded a contract by the City of Mankato, MN to provide ultrafiltration technology in upgrades to their water treatment plant. The Mankato plant, which will provide 12 mgd of potable water to city residents, will be the state's second largest UF plant and is expected to be on-line in September 2006.
The city of Minneapolis and city of Mankato plants will join GE's expanding ecomagination and water scarcity solutions portfolio, which includes a wide-range of customized water solutions designed to create new sources of usable water for the potable, industrial and agricultural sectors—while lessening impacts on fresh water sources. In June, GE announced its plans for what will be Africa's largest seawater desalination plant. The Hamma plant, which will be one of GE's largest ecomagination projects, will be located in Algeria and will provide drinking water to 25% of all Algiers' residents. These projects join GE's largest ecomagination project, the Sulaibiya facility in Kuwait. This facility, which is world's largest membrane-based water reclamation facility, purifies municipal wastewater to produce 100 million gallons per day of clean water for industry and agricultural uses. GE now has an installed base of more than 1,100 water treatment plants that can achieve flow rates ranging from 30,000 gallons/day to 100MM gallons/day.