FR-RO Chosen as Key Technology for
Santa Monica’s Desalination Plant

WFI > Rotec > Knowledge Center > FR-RO Chosen as Key Technology for Santa Monica’s Desalination Plant


California is among the highest-risk states for droughts and water shortages due to climate change, and has cities such as Santa Monica turning to new technologies to increase water production and ensure a reliable supply for the future.

A number of individuals were interviewed for the Water World article, about new developments at the Arcadia water treatment plant, including Santa Monica water resources manager Sunny Wang, senior project manager at the facility Adam Zacheis, membrane technology expert Dr. Graeme Pearce, and Dr. Noam Perlmuter, CEO of ROTEC, the company providing the innovative technology that makes these improvements possible.


A New Milestone for US Municipal Desalination

ROTEC specializes in the development and deployment of advanced reverse osmosis technology that allows for cost-efficient high-recovery exclusive retrofit and new turnkey desalination plants. The unique Flow Reversal Reverse Osmosis (FR-RO) technology that delivers this level of performance is already in use at dozens of facilities around the world.

However, the Arcadia water treatment plant upgrade will mark the technology implementation in the largest municipal facility within the US. The Arcadia water treatment plan carries out brackish water desalination to provide a direct needed source of pure and clean fresh water. When the facility was built in the 1960s, it used the latest ion exchange technology, and now FR-RO is set to revolutionize its capabilities again.

The implementation of the new technology is drawing attention from all over the country, with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) having contributed a $10 million grant toward the project.

Overcoming Desalination Challenges

Implementing desalination in municipal water treatment has always been a challenge. The recovery rate is one of the most significant, with conventional reverse osmosis systems only allowing the Arcadia plant to achieve a maximum of 82%. With FR-RO from ROTEC, the facility is planned to achieve 90-91%, greatly increasing its capacity to provide water, while reducing brine and energy.

It means that for every 10 gallons of water treated, 9 gallons of drinking water will be produced. Previously this was 8 gallons. This is critical because groundwater is also a limited resource, supporting the self-sufficient and resilient approach.

There is also the issue of space in wastewater treatment plants. With so many plants already in action, it’s important that any solution be retrofittable. ROTEC’s solution is incredibly compact and doesn’t require an additional footprint. This makes it both easy and affordable to implement in existing facilities.

The unique flow-reversal of FR-RO systems makes it possible to avoid issues such as scaling and biofouling as well, where minerals and bacteria accumulate inside the system. The flow reversal prevents excessive concentrations from forming within any individual section of the system.

Thus, increasing recovery rates allows users to generate more clean water, utilize less raw water, and dramatically reduce energy and brine volumes. FR-RO also minimizes OPEX, chemical use and clean-in-place (CIP) events, leading to a substantially more sustainable and eco-friendly water treatment approach.

Further Interest in FR-RO Technology

The Santa Monica facility is far from being the only one adopting FR-RO technology. ROTEC is currently working with the Singapore water agency PUB on the innovative Changi Water Reclamation Plant, which features numerous new technologies.

The industry as a whole is watching the development of these projects very closely, as FR-RO technology could soon become standard practice in water treatment. As the need for reliable water supplies increases, ROTEC is leading the way with its FR-RO technology.

For the full story on the Arcadia water treatment plant’s ROTEC FR-RO upgrade in Santa Monica and the interviews with ROTEC CEO Dr. Noam Perlmuter and other experts related to the project, you can read WaterWorld’s article here.


Looking to gain more from water? Let's talk.