Enviro Water Minerals Company celebrated the completion of its new facility during a ribbon-cutting event on the Eastside. The plant will add to the city’s drinking water supply and turn minerals from groundwater into commercial products.
“By allowing our city to conserve over 700 million gallons of water a year, the new EWM facility will help provide El Paso with a greater supply of drinkable water for years to come,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said in a statement. “It will also play a critical role in ensuring that El Paso can continue to grow and improve in a way that minimizes our impact on the environment.”
Officials with El Paso Water, the local water utility, said the plant is important to the El Paso community not only for its ability to produce fresh water but also because of what its success may mean for the desalination industry.
The new facility is located next to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant at 3640 Global Reach. The plant uses desalination technology to turn salty or brackish water into fresh water.
El Paso Water officials said conventional desalination technologies for brackish water typically yield 75 to 85 percent fresh water. Enviro Water Minerals Company, also known as EWM, claims its technology can recover 99 percent of the water.
The technology EWM is using puts El Paso in a better position to attract companies that operate in the manufacturing sector, which use a lot of water, said Marcos Delgado, executive vice president at the Borderplex Alliance. It is an asset when companies have a strong utility requirement.
“It could be big compared to the company’s investment,” Delgado said. “That processing type of investment is critical, or very much sought after.”
The Texas-based company uses its technology to extract minerals and contaminants discharged in wastewater from the desalination process. The leftover salts and minerals are turned into commercial products for use in local markets by the Enviro Water plant.
Up to 1.5 million gallons of the waste generated at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant will be sent to the new recovery plant operated by EWM. The company will then sell back about 1 million gallons of fresh water to El Paso Water at a low cost, officials say. About 27.5 million gallons of water are filtered at the EPWU facility daily.
Construction of the facility began in February 2016. It was designed to produce 2.1 million gallons per day of potable water from brackish water, according to a press release.
“The project is a great example of cities and industry working together to benefit communities and the environment,” the CEO of EWM, Hubble Hausman said in a statement.
The plant will not only be an additional water supplier, but will develop into a new environmentally friendly industry, County Judge Veronica Escobar said in a statement.
“The additional water supply will provide residential, commercial, and agricultural users with a greater amount of this valuable resource,” she said. “The fact that we are able to do so while promoting the growth of a new industry in El Paso and becoming more environmentally friendly in the process is incredible.”
An official date has not been set for first day operation.