Open House Scheduled for Desalination Plant

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant will be open for public tours on Aug. 8 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The plant is located east of the Montana/Yarbrough intersection at 10751 Montana Ave. The desalination plant is a joint project of El Paso Water Utilities and the U.S. Army. It uses reverse osmosis to treat brackish groundwater from the Hueco Bolson aquifer.

Brackish water contains more salt than is allowed in drinking water, but significantly less than ocean water. During reverse osmosis, pressure forces raw water through membranes that separate salts and other contaminants. Desalination plants that are located near oceans are more common than inland plants. They have an ample supply of water to treat and can return the residuals from the reverse osmosis process to the ocean.

El Paso's plant has attracted industry-wide attention due to its inland location. Its 27.5 million gallons per day production capacity makes it the largest inland desalination plant in the world.