The City of Baltimore, Maryland is one of many US cities faced with challenges related to increasing potable water demands, diminishing fresh water supplies, and aging infrastructure. To address these challenges, the City recently undertook a $7M study to evaluate water supply and treatment alternatives and develop the conceptual design for a new 120 million gallon per day (MGD) water treatment plant. As part of this study, an innovative raw water management tool was constructed to help model source water availability and predicted water quality based on integration of a new and more challenging surface water supply. A rigorous decision-making approach was then used to screen and select appropriate treatment processes. Short-listed treatment strategies were demonstrated through a year-long pilot study, and process design criteria were collected in order to assess capital and operational costs for the full-scale plant. Ultimately the City chose a treatment scheme that includes low-pressure membrane filtration and post-filter GAC adsorption, allowing for consistent finished water quality irrespective of which raw water supply is being used. The conceptual design includes several progressive concepts, which will: 1) alleviate treatment limitations at the City's existing plants by providing additional pre-clarification facilities at the new plant; and 2) take advantage of site conditions to design and operate the submerged membrane system by gravity-induced siphon, saving the City significant capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. Once completed, the new Fullerton Water Filtration Plant (WFP) will be the largest low-pressure membrane plant in North America, and the largest gravity-siphon design in the world.

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