Customer Aaron ODonnell is very content with the collaboration between Biwater Inc and GF Piping Systems.

Sustainable support for California

In many regions of this world, water is a luxury, although it shouldn’t be. For around 50 years, the British company Biwater has been working to provide clean water and wastewater treatment with over 25’000 projects in more than 90 countries. GF Piping Systems cooperated with the Californian Biwater subsidiary in the construction of a modern water treatment plant in Pico Rivera (USA).

It’s only a 60 kilometer drive from Los Angeles to Rancho Cucamonga, California (USA). The 175’000-inhabitant city is well known as an important industrial site in steel production and it is home of the North American headquarters of Biwater Inc, a subsidiary of the British company Biwater International.

The company works for industrial and municipal clients and delivers advanced treatment systems that provide safe, reliable and energy efficient water desalination or reuse systems with low life cycle costs. Treated water is an important topic – especially for California, where severe droughts are a recurring problem. Therefore, more than a decade ago, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) – the largest groundwater agency in the State of California, managing and protecting local groundwater resources for four million residents – announced a program for Southern California to become 100% independent of imported water in the future. Therefore, a new advanced water treatment facility was needed. The plant in Pico Rivera has been built with the expert support of GF Piping Systems. It is one of many projects by WRD to manage the replenishment of groundwater in the Los Angeles central basin. The plant helps to reduce reliance on imported water from the environmentally sensitive mountain lakes and rivers in Northern California and the drought-stricken Colorado River.

The order from Biwater to GF Piping Systems included custom-made pipes and manifolds that form the heart of the ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system at the Pico Rivera plant.
Aaron ODonnell (left) from Biwater and Scott Stringfellow (right) from GF Piping Systems are already planning further joint projects with a focus on water treatment and groundwater replenishment.

A strong partner nearby

“We chose to work with GF Piping Systems because we were looking for a partner with a proven track record, a well-known company with proven products,” says Aaron ODonnell, Senior Vice President Engineering of Biwater Inc. The geographical proximity was also an important factor for close and easy collaboration: GF has a site in Irvine, only about 60 kilometers from Biwater’s headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga. From Irvine, the GF Piping Systems team supplies hundreds of different customers in different markets like microelectronics, life science, food and beverage and water treatment – an ideal starting point also for the Biwater project. The Irvine location has expertise in the production of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe and fittings used for the conveyance of liquids needed for the Biwater construction in Pico Rivera.

From theory to practice

Biwater started with the first plans as early as 2013, with GF Piping Systems joining in May 2017 during the early design and concept phase. “Our products and expertise played a central role until the plant was completed,” says Scott Stringfellow, Area Sales Manager of GF Piping Systems in Irvine. “As we are specialists in HDPE components, we were responsible for the design, manufacture and pre-fabrication of custom components including the unique manifolds critical to the system’s successful operation. Our engineering team analyzed the plant requirements and created custom components to be utilized in the water treatment system in CAD, later to be assembled in our fabrication facilities in Irvine.” He added: “The offsite fabrication allowed Biwater to take delivery of pre-assembled components, which saved labor and time during construction.” The order from Biwater included custom-made pipe and manifolds that form the heart of the ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system at the Pico Rivera plant. But of course, in such a big project, things don’t always go smoothly – and “especially then speed and flexibility are of utmost importance. Our teams went the extra mile to ensure immediate supply of the newly fabricated assemblies. Biwater recognized this customer service and ability to act fast,” Scott Stringfellow says. The hard work was worth it.


What is reverse osmosis (RO)?

RO is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules, and larger particles from drinking water.

Aaron ODonnell and Scott Stringfellow are already planning further joint projects. The focus will be on water treatment and groundwater replenishment again. “All interactions with Biwater and Aaron have evolved from a business relationship to a very close working relationship, which helps projects go smoothly for all involved,” says Scott Stringfellow describing the atmosphere between the two companies. Good prospects for the joint projects!

“We chose GF Piping Systems because we were looking for a partner with a proven track record.”

Aaron ODonnell, Senior Vice President Engineering, Biwater Inc


The plant in Pico Rivera

The plant forms a cornerstone of a suite of projects by the client Water Replenishment District to manage the replenishment of groundwater in the Los Angeles central basin. It helps to reduce reliance on imported water from the environmentally-sensitive mountain lakes and rivers in Northern California and the drought-stricken Colorado River. Treated wastewater that would otherwise be wasted to the ocean, to the concern of biologists and environmentalists, is purified to an extremely high standard and then delivered to nearby spreading fields where it percolates into the local aquifer. This water migrates over weeks to local ground water wells used to extract water as the feed source for the areas water treatment plants. This process replaces potable water resources that would otherwise require importation from outside the region. As the external resources are plagued with occasional droughts and demand is surpassing natural replenishment, this water is not always sufficiently available, and costs rocket. Thereby, indirect potable reuse from wastewater resources, is a locally sustainable alternative to imported water in Southern California.

“We really appreciated the efforts of the GF team throughout the design, delivery, and commissioning.”


Interview with Aaron ODonnell

Aaron ODonnell is Senior Vice President Engineering at Biwater Inc

How would you describe your experience with GF Piping Systems?

The communication with our partners at GF Piping Systems was excellent. They always responded quickly and professionally – especially when it came to solving emerging problems promptly.

What challenging moments do you remember, where GF could support you?

Because of the complex construction of the system, we needed innovative ways to customize the design to reduce the installation time of the various header components. Both the product range and the material expertise of GF Piping Systems proved invaluable. Our contacts at GF suggested a solution with the reliable electrofusion joint, which worked very well.

What do you appreciate about GF products?

The products’ quality and durability are extremely high, as the product is an essential component of the systems we manufacture and bears our name. The products provided by GF meet our expectations in terms of function and reliability. It is clear that they are manufactured to a very high-quality standard.

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