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Groundwater Treatment Feasibility Study, Lockheed Martin Southern California Facilities

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LM-AERO) retained Accord Engineering, Inc., to prepare a feasibility study to support the potential design and construction of treatment systems for groundwater extracted for potable use at two sites in southern California. Concerned about the possible impacts on existing operations due to changing environmental regulations, LM-AERO is proactively evaluating options for improving its existing groundwater treatment systems. To support LM-AERO’s efforts, Accord Engineering reviewed existing literature, evaluated similar case studies, documented the existing treatment systems, characterized current groundwater geochemical conditions, and solicited proposals from various water treatment vendors to identify and screen various alternatives and recommend an approach.

Given the generally good quality of the extracted groundwater, the relatively small employee population being served, and LM-AERO’s desire to minimize operation and maintenance costs, Accord Engineering quickly eliminated several established treatment options that—while feasible—did not make sense to evaluate further. Similarly, Accord Engineering reviewed several innovative treatment technologies, including a biosequestration approach developed by one of Lockheed Martin’s own business units, but concluded that they would not be appropriate. Ion exchange was the only technology retained for detailed study.

Although various ion exchange approaches would be effective and implementable, the geochemistry of the water—in particular, its naturally high pH—dictated that a strong-base technology would be the least labor intensive and most cost effective. Considering the fairly remote location of the sites, regenerable ion exchange systems were considered, but it became apparent during the feasibility study that a single-pass method would be the best alternative. LM-AERO lauded Accord Engineering’s attention to detail in developing the conceptual-level design/cost estimate and preparing a well-written feasibility study. This was particularly important because LM-AERO is seeking funding from the landowner to potentially implement the technology. Bench- and/or pilot-scale evaluation and potential full-scale implementation of single-pass ion exchange technology is currently being considered.

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