Kleinfelder is providing lead structural engineering services for this world-class seawater desalination facility. Upon completion in early 2016, this $1 billion venture is expected to produce 50 million gallons of clean drinking water per day.
The Carlsbad Desalination Plant will take in ocean water and produce clean drinking water for distribution across San Diego County. Structural design required special attention to heavy on-site equipment, such as high pressure pumps and intricate reverse osmosis trains. Additionally, the concrete’s mix-design and thickness needed to tolerate heat generated from routine exposure to saltwater. A relatively small site and a tight schedule posed further constraints to this unique project.
To find the most optimal and economic way of handling extreme loads—without compromising functionality or cost—Kleinfelder ran thorough analyses and modeling throughout the design process. The team also took into account various thrust forces exerted by large pipes carrying fast-moving water, and ultimately constructed pipes that would support and suit the water’s journey from the ocean to the plant to a reservoir in San Marcos, where it joins the water supply for the entire San Diego County.
When complete, the project will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere and the first major seawater desalination plant on the West Coast—providing a firm source of drinking water, unaffected by drought or seasonal dry conditions, to 3.1 million residents and a $188 billion economy.