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Ak-Chin Indian Community’s Surface Water Treatment Plant Honored with Water Project of the Year Award

The Ak-Chin Indian Community’s surface water treatment plant, featuring GE’s ZeeWeed* 500 advanced treatment technology, was recently honored with the 2013 Water Project of the Year Award from the AZ Water Association.

The new plant, commissioned in 2012, has a capacity of 2.25 million gallons per day and provides drinking water to community members and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. It also provides sufficient capacity to meet the needs of existing commercial operations as well as future expansions.

It is the first surface water treatment plant for the Ak-Chin Indian Community, located in the Santa Cruz Valley of Southern Arizona, 50 miles south of Phoenix in the northwestern part of Pinal County. GE also provided the technology for the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s nearby membrane bioreactor water reclamation facility, which provides Arizona Class A+ effluent for water reuse and recharge, and also won an international and multiple state awards. Carollo Engineers in Phoenix is responsible for the award-winning design of both plants.

The Ak-Chin Indian Community’s surface water treatment plant takes advantage of its surface water allotment of Colorado River Water supplied via the Maricopa-Stanfield canal system and the Central Arizona Project canal, which gives it a secure source of water, allowing for the population to properly plan for future growth and expansion.

This project represents the latest successful partnering effort between GE and Carollo Engineers in Arizona.

“Carollo trusted GE’s advanced water treatment equipment to provide a reliable, safe and secure drinking water supply that met the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s current needs and provided critical flexibility to accommodate variable flow and water quality conditions in the future. The GE design team integrated seamlessly with our staff, promoting an expedited, efficient and cost-effective design. The project was presented with the 2013 AZ Water Association Water Treatment Plant of the Year Award based on its innovation and positive impact on the community,” said Dave Sobeck, senior vice president, Carollo Engineers, Inc.

“We chose GE’s ZeeWeed technology for our surface water treatment plant because it is the same technology that we have in our award-winning water reclamation facility. It was the best technology available to ensure years of reliable service and the best overall value for the Ak-Chin Indian Community,” said Jayne Long, capital project manager, Ak-Chin Indian Community.

GE ZeeWeed 500 technology is an advanced filtration technology that separates particles, bacteria and viruses from water or wastewater. Nearly 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology to produce superior quality. Its unique ability to handle high peaks of solids and turbidity, combined with the high-efficient process and low energy and chemicals usage, makes it ideal for treating deteriorated or high-variation raw water sources and always producing high and stable drinking quality water.

Ultrafiltration uses a semipermeable membrane barrier to reject suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins and other pathogens in water to produce treated water known as permeate with very high purity and low silt density. It serves as a pretreatment for surface water, seawater and biologically treated municipal effluent before reverse osmosis and other membrane water treatment systems. Ultrafiltration also is used in industry to separate suspended solids from solution. GE’s ZeeWeed ultrafiltration membranes offer an unmatched combination of ultrafiltration performance, energy efficiency, durability, fast installation, ease of operation and reliability.

“When the Ak-Chin Indian Community required a new surface water treatment plant, tribal leadership turned to GE’s ZeeWeed ultrafiltration and membrane bioreactor solution because of its high quality, secure and reliable potable water. Our technology can serve the community’s water needs not only now but also into the future,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

The AZ Water Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization founded in 1928 with a membership of 2,700 water/wastewater professionals dedicated to preserving and enhancing Arizona's water environment. Although AZ Water is an independent organization, it also serves as the Arizona section of the American Water Works Association and the Arizona member association of the Water Environment Federation.

Little Known Fact:

Ak-Chin is an O'odham word translated to mean "mouth of the wash" or "place where the wash loses itself in the sand or ground." The term refers to a type of farming that relies on washes—seasonal foodplains created by winter snows and summer rains.

The tribe's government was formally organized in 1961 under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The Ak-Chin Indian Community is governed by a five-member tribal council, which oversees the governmental operations and departments that service the community of Ak-Chin. The water facility is a major part of this community.

*Trademark of the General Electric Company; may be registered in one or more countries.


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