Written By: Noe Santos
On March 4th, eight Las Vegas ASCE YMF members departed Las Vegas with the ultimate destination of touring the latest and largest seawater desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere. The Carlsbad Desalination plant cost $1 Billion to construct and ceremoniously began operations in December 2015. The plant has a current capacity of 56,000 acre-feet/year (50 million gallons/day) with the capability to expand in the future.
Upon arriving in Carlsbad, California, the Las Vegas YMF caravan rendezvoused with David Swallow, Director of Engineering at the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, and Kristina Swallow, Las Vegas’s own 2017 ASCE President Elect official nominee. The group was soon joined by over twenty Southern California YMF members. Upon checking in with the security team at Poseidon Water and being provided with the essential Personal Protective Equipment, the large group of curious engineers was split up into two groups to allow for a more manageable tour.
The tour groups were shown around the facility and presented with a ton of important background information. Some of the sights that were shown included the intake/outfall structures and the massive network of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis filters. The one-hour tour finished in the most appropriate manner by having a taste test of the final product - pure H2O. There was something to be said standing a mere half mile from the Pacific Ocean and consuming crystal clear water – a true testament to human ingenuity and the determination to maintain sustainable development with consideration and respect for the greater environment.
Following the technical tour, the Las Vegas YMF group met with the Southern California YMF members over pizza and beverages at a local craft beer facility. At the social get-together, the mixed group of YMF members socialized and discussed the role of YMF through different perspectives. The social get-together was very enjoyable and resulted in new professional contacts and opened the door for a future visit from the Southern California YMF to Las Vegas.
The trip was an overall success! Following a relaxing day at the beach on Saturday, the group of eight Las Vegas YMF members headed home Sunday morning with new beach tans and dreams of a more sustainable desert southwest.