Fluidized Bed Reactor Transforms Perchlorate-Laden Groundwater into Drinking Water for Southern California Water District

First Direct Use of Fluidized Bed Reactor Treatment Technology for a Potable Water Application

Envirogen and West Valley Water District (Rialto, CA) celebrated the Grand Opening of their Groundwater Wellhead Treatment System on October 29, 2016. The Rialto California plant, designed and built by Envirogen processes perchlorate- and nitrate-laden water from the Rialto-Colton groundwater basin, directly for use by the potable water utility. Several wells in this critical water supply were shut down in 1998, after perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel and fireworks, was detected. The historic grand opening was the culmination of years of testing to once again allow this water source to be used to deliver potable drinking water to over 16,000 customers in drought stricken Southern California.

The heart of the treatment system is Envirogen’s Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR), that relies on naturally occurring bacteria in the water to feast on the oxygen rich perchlorate molecule and transform it to harmless chlorides. This installation represents the first time that environmentally friendly biological treatment has been used as the sole technology for perchlorate removal in a potable water system.

According to  Dr. Todd Webster, Vice President, Envirogen Technologies, “Envirogen’s patented FBR systems have gained worldwide recognition as a superior, environment-friendly technology for the treatment of industrial wastewater and groundwater remediation. While the biological technology is used for perchlorate removal in other parts of the country, this is the first installation in the world to deliver treated water directly to customers as potable drinking water,” he said.

Envirogen is an industry leader in the use of fluidized bed bioreactor technology, with over 40 FBR systems installed worldwide and several projects under development, treating a wide range of contaminants. Chief among these are nitrate, perchlorate and selenium water treatment. The FBR has been the subject of intensive technology development by Envirogen. In addition to this direct-to-system potable water application, Envirogen has introduced best-in-class treatment solutions for selenium in both the coal mining and power industries featuring the FBR in the last three years. In both wastewater and compromised groundwater applications, the main advantages of Envirogen’s FBR include high levels of contaminant removal from medium to large volumes of water, a small system footprint, low lifecycle costs and its status as a ‘green’ technology.

Attendees at the grand opening ceremony heard from Congressional leaders Pete Aguilar and Loretta Sanchez, Assembly members Cheryl Brown and Eric Linder, City of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, as well as dignitaries from the West Valley Water District, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Dr. Todd S. Webster, Vice President for Envirogen Technologies, explained the breakthrough technology to the participants, saying “This is the harbinger of what is to come”, and answered questions during tours of the plant following the presentations.