Located on the east coast of Italy, close to the Adriatic Sea and part of the Mediterranean Sea, this popular tourist destination needed a way to ensure increased water supply, as a result of repeated water shortages, and high-quality drinking water for residents and visitors.Several years ago, Romagna Acque – Società delle Fonti SpA, the public company in charge of the water wholesale supply for Italy’s Romagna region, realised it needed to heavily invest in supplementing its existing water supply to ensure water always is available. The municipality selected GE’s membrane technology for the project due to its ability to convert deteriorated raw source water into high-quality, safe drinking water.Often plagued by long periods of drought that cause the reservoirs to reach critically low levels, the region turns to the Po River, the longest river in Italy, as a drinking water source. The raw water from the Po River has a high variation of solids and turbidity especially after rain, and the new drinking water plant needed a reliable method to purify the severely deteriorated incoming water.“Our region’s economy depends on industrial assets and on seasonal tourists who come to Ravenna’s coastal area for popular beaches and historical sites. Safe and reliable drinking water is essential to ensuring visitors continue to patronize the Romagna region,” said Andrea Gambi, CEO, Romagna Acque – Società delle Fonti SpA. “We had been experiencing water shortages and needed to add to our reliable supply of water. Building a new drinking water plant with GE’s ZeeWeed technology is the key to turning the river into a safe and dependable source of potable water.”Once operational, the new drinking water plant utilizing GE’s ZeeWeed 500 technology will treat an average flow of 95 million litres per day (MLD), which is enough water to serve approximately 400,000 people. GE will provide the technology to the engineering, procurement and construction joint venture led by Torricelli S.r.l., in partnership with Degrémont SpA. Featuring 40 cassettes filled with ZeeWeed 500 modules and distributed in eight filtration trains, the new facility will be the largest potable plant of its kind in Europe using GE technology.GE ZeeWeed 500 technology is an advanced filtration technology that separates particles, bacteria and viruses from water or wastewater. Nearly 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology to produce superior quality. Its unique ability to handle high peaks of solids and turbidity, combined with the high-efficient process and low energy and chemicals usage, makes it ideal for treating deteriorated or high variation raw water sources and always producing high and stable drinking quality water.“In recent years, Italy’s Romagna region has been afflicted with a limited and deteriorating water supply from conventional sources such as reservoirs and aquifers and was forced to turn to alternative water bodies, which can have severely deteriorated quality. Sophisticated water treatment processes, like GE’s ZeeWeed ultrafiltration technology, are ideal for when tough, raw source water needs to be turned into potable water,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. “More and more governments and municipalities are looking into new ways to safely and reliably generate potable water, regardless of how deteriorated the original water source.”Ultrafiltration uses a semi-permeable membrane barrier to reject suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins and other pathogens in water to produce treated water known as permeate with very high purity and low silt density. It serves as a pretreatment for surface water, seawater and biologically treated municipal effluent before reverse osmosis and other membrane water treatment systems. Ultrafiltration also is used in industry to separate suspended solids from solution. GE’s ZeeWeed ultrafiltration membranes offer an unmatched combination of ultrafiltration performance, energy efficiency, durability, fast installation, ease of operation and reliability.