West Basin studies distribution of desalinated water

Southern California’s West Basin Water District is conducting a study on how ultra-pure water, made through seawater desalination, could be introduced into existing tap water distribution systems.

The study will identify the right mix of minerals to stabilize desalinated water, so that, when mixed with other sources, it can safely make its way to local residents and businesses.

The four-month study will be completed in the winter of 2013. The results of the study will be posted on the district’s website 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 with 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 6 in (15 mm) dia imported water distribution pipes; 4 in (10mm) dia local water distribution pipes; and and 1.5 in (3.75 mm) home plumbing pipes.

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.