FORT IRWIN, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District and Corps contractor CDM Constructors, Inc., of Rancho Cucamonga have reached a critical milestone in the construction of the new Fort Irwin Water Treatment Plant as it began to transition to the plants commissioning phase in September.
The project, now known as the Irwin Water Works, is more than 85 percent complete.
"The majority of the plant construction has been completed,” said Capt. Jason King, USACE IWW project officer. “Construction of the processing plant has been completed, and plant operators have begun training and testing the systems in preparation for the plant’s initial start-up.”
The Los Angeles District awarded the $100.1 million construction contract Sept. 12, 2012, and work began July 15, 2013.
The plant is designed to treat 6 million gallons per day and remove contaminants found in Fort Irwin's ground water, in conformance with federal and state requirements (i.e., arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, and total dissolved solids).
The plant’s primary treatment process is an electro-dialysis reversal system, enhanced by other processes to increase the amount of water recovered during the treatment process. After flowing through the EDR system, water is further processed to reach a total recovery rate of 99 percent or better of all water received by the plant for processing. The “waste” water containing unwanted chemicals and suspended solids, more like a paste than a liquid, can then be easily captured for removal and environmentally approved disposal.
The Irwin Water Works project also includes upgrades to the Fort Irwin and National Training Center’s water supply and distribution system, much of which has been visible to Fort Irwin community members over the summer, who saw new utility lines being installed along the post’s main roads.
“During the next couple of months, the IWW water treatment plant will begin its start-up operations,” said Chris Woodruff, water resources manager, Fort Irwin Department of Public Works. “We will start putting clean water into the DO (domestic use) pipes. Users of Fort Irwin’s two-pipe system may see milky, cloudy, or rusty colored water. Those who are farther away from Goldstone/Outer Loop roads, and Barstow/Outer Loop roads, where the main water lines are located, will notice it less, if at all.”
“Beginning in December, well water from our Bicycle Lake underwater reservoir will be pumped directly to the IWW and will no longer pressurize the DO system,” said Woodruff. “The IWW treatment plant will be fully operational and permitted. The chance of discoloration of water in the DO system is greatest once the plant begins treating all the water. The discoloration will not be harmful.”
After about a week of full operation, Fort Irwin Directorate of Public Works will oversee the testing of the water. Personnel from the Army Medical Department preventive medicine services at Fort Irwin, CDM Constructors (prime contractor for IWW), CH2M (the post’s water services contractor), High Desert Support Services, and DPW will visit Fort Irwin facilities to test the water system.
Testing may include flushing of fixtures inside buildings. If more than localized flushing is required, customers may experience low pressure, air in the line (bubbles in the water), or a reoccurrence of the discoloration.
During this operation, only the DO system will be affected. Fort Irwin’s two-pipe system will still be in use, and water users will still receive their drinking water from the RO faucets.
When testing and evaluation are completed, the RO system will be shut off, and the modernized DO water distribution system will become the single source of water on the installation. Potable water will no longer come from the reverse osmosis plant, and Fort Irwin will be fully compliant with California EPA potable (drinking) water standards. The RO system will remain operational until early 2017 as a backup system.
About the Fort Irwin IWW (Irwin Water Works)
As well as being environmentally friendly and state-of-the-art energy efficient, IWW is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. The IWW control building is now going through the certification process with the Green Building Certification Institute and has currently been awarded 54 points, greater than the required 50 points for Silver certification.
“When completed, this facility will be one of the Army’s most efficient water treatment facilities,” said Antonia Ortiz, design project engineer, USACE Water and Wastewater Technical Center of Expertise, Mobile District. “This project also has several energy cost-savings solutions incorporated in its design.”
Some of the solutions include:
- Participation in the Southern California Edison Savings by Design energy incentive program (lighting, heat pumps, and use of VFD motors) - $66K[lso6] savings anticipated.
- Photo-Voltaic (PV) Array – Control building will have 8,400 KW of photo voltaic energy generation in an array on the roof structure.
- Solar lighting will illuminate the IWW site.
Photos and artist renderings of the Irwin Water Works can be found online at
To learn more about the Irwin Water Works and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, visit the official NTC website at https://www.irwin.army.mil