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Interior announces $12.6 million for desalination research facility in Southern New Mexico

  • Interior announces $12.6 million for desalination research facility in Southern New Mexico

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U.S. Department of the Interior
The U.S. Department of the Interior manages natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.

While in Southern New Mexico, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Congressman Gabe Vasquez announced a $12.6 million investment from the President’s Investing in America agenda to support the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government effort to enhance the resilience of the West to drought and climate change. Owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, this is a state-of-the-art facility used by government agencies, universities, and private sector companies for desalination research studies, pilot-scale projects and small demonstration projects.

“As we work to implement historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are looking to cutting-edge and innovative solutions to support Western communities in the face of record drought and climate change,” said Secretary Haaland. “Investments in desalination, water treatment and reuse are critical as we work to safeguard community water supplies and expand access to clean, reliable drinking water for families, farmers and Tribes.”

This funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government effort to enhance the resilience of the West to drought and climate change

The Investing in America agenda is delivering historic resources to communities to help advance drought resilience and strengthen local economies. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $8.3 billion for Reclamation water infrastructure projects over five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers, and wildlife. The investment will revitalize water delivery systems, advance water purification and reuse techniques, expand water storage capacities and complete rural water projects.

BGNDRF provides state-of-the-art research facilities for researchers involved in desalination studies, pilot-scale projects and small demonstration projects. The facility uniquely focuses on brackish groundwater desalination; renewable energy integration; development of systems for rural and Tribal communities; concentrate management; and treating water produced from oil and gas production. It is the only major research facility in the United States dedicated solely to the desalination of brackish and impaired groundwaters.

PFAS (Per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) contamination was initially discovered in an evaporation pond at the facility in 2017 and two wells in 2019, hindering the facility’s ability to safely treat water. Reclamation plans to use the funding from today’s announcement to construct an advanced water treatment facility and associated infrastructure at the facility in response to the PFAS contamination, which would allow for full utilization of BGNDRF by restoring access to all brackish wells and reducing the operational load on the other two wells. The new building will be designed to treat up to two wells at a time with possible future connections to the remaining wells at the facility.

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