The city of North Las Vegas, Nevada, has upgraded its wastewater treatment plant with new membrane technology, which is expected to save the city more than $100,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs.

By using GE’s LEAPmbr system, the city will see an estimated 29 percent reduction in membrane scour energy costs, GE says. The upgraded water reclamation MBR facility, one of the largest in the United States, treats the municipal wastewater for more than 300,000 of North Las Vegas’ residents and processes up to 25 million gallons of wastewater per day.

Historically, the city of North Las Vegas relied on the city of Las Vegas for wastewater treatment, but in 2012 North Las Vegas built its own plant using GE ZeeWeed membranes and MBR technology. The city then upgraded the facility with LEAPmbr technology three years later to provide the same wastewater treatment capacity and high-treated water quality while reducing energy and maintenance costs and increasing productivity.

“Environmental and economic concerns led us to upgrade our wastewater treatment plant with GE’s LEAPmbr technology, which provided us with a more energy-efficient and cost-effective way to operate our facility,” said Dave Commons, water reclamation facility administrator for North Las Vegas. “The retrofit will give us a 29 percent energy reduction on membrane aeration and will save more than $100,000 per year in energy and maintenance costs.”

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GE’s LEAPmbr aeration technology provides optimal energy usage by reducing membrane air scour costs along with essentially eliminating cyclic valve maintenance. In addition, the plant’s advanced SCADA system allows the city of North Las Vegas to have minimal staffing at the plant and the wastewater treatment facility can be controlled remotely.

“LEAPmbr is our latest innovation in membrane technology and upgrading to it gives the city of North Las Vegas a more cost-effective and energy-efficient method of aeration. Additionally, LEAPmbr improves water quality, increases water treatment capacity, and offers the lowest life cycle costs available from any MBR technology,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

Specifically for the project, GE retrofitted the existing membrane cassettes by supplying LEAPmbr retrofit kits. This allowed the plant to take advantage of the lower air and energy requirements while continuing to get the full life cycle operation out of the originally installed membranes.

At the core of LEAPmbr is GE’s ZeeWeed 500 membrane, an advanced ultrafiltration technology that separates solids, bacteria and viruses from water or wastewater.