340,000

inhabitants served

Water collected directly from the Pacific Ocean

The first desalination plant to use reverse osmosis technology to supply water for mining activities, located in the Atacama region of Chile.

The pre-treatment stage uses ACCIONA Agua's proprietary technology to protect membranes from phenomena like "red tides" or jellyfish proliferation, which often occur in this area of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Water is taken from the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 17 m and transferred to a well for pumping to the desalination plant, located 1,300 m from the shore. On arrival, the water goes through the desalination and purification process, and the resulting brine is returned to the ocean using a system of diffusers to prevent salt concentrations that would harm the marine ecosystem.

 

The plant uses reverse osmosis desalination technology, a particularly interesting technique because of its adaptability, enabling the treatment of different types of untreated water, and because it is financially competitive and environmentally friendly.



GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Location: Puerto Punta Totoralillo, Copiapó (Atacama Region), Chile
  • Client: CAP (Pacific Steel Company)
  • Capacity: 54,000 m3 per day
  • Procedure: Reverse osmosis
  • Type of contract: EPC + O&M (20 years)
  • End water use: Mining activity and human consumption supply
  • Population: 340,000 inhabitants

KEY ASPECTS

  • The building of an aqueduct and a concentrate pipeline that links the supplier with the receiver.
  • Particularly important as a water solution, given that the Atacama desert is both rich in mineral resources and considered the most arid desert on the planet.

Key figures

340,000

inhabitants served

54,000

m3 per day

20

years of EPC + O&M contracts

Technology and innovation

Reverse osmosis

This is the most widespread and advanced desalination system in the world. Its implementation represents more than 60% in comparison to the rest of the methods. This water treatment process is carried out thanks to the contribution of external energy in the form of pressure, which overcomes the natural osmotic pressure present in the solution.

ACTIDAFF®

A desalination water pretreatment system that combines flotation and filtration with a granular medium bed in a single tank. The area of the Pacific Ocean closest to Copiapó has frequent temperature changes that favour the appearance of red tides, an abundance of jellyfish and other phenomena that can affect the process of a conventional desalination plant. Installing ACTIDAFF® counteracts the effects of algal bloom in the plant. This system has multiple applications: treating water with algae, water with high concentrations of oils and fats and suspended solids.

Awards and recognitions

Premio de la Cámara Chilena de la Construcción (CCHC) to the million hours worked without accidents.


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