Case Study: SAMCO Works with EPC to Deliver Complete Water Treatment Solution for Carbon Capture Power Plant


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Customer-centric design and build process yields a reliable three-stage water treatment solution on an efficient timeline



When developers began to plan a new combined-cycle power plant in the Midwest, they hired an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm to design and build a power plant with a mix of natural gas and alternative fuel. All systems would need to be designed from the ground up—including a high-capacity water treatment plant to supply the facility with purified water for all of its utility and energy-generation needs.

Given the scope of the project, the EPC firm knew that the reliability of its vendors was paramount to the success of the project. Following a competitive bidding process, the EPC and owner selected SAMCO to design and build a comprehensive water treatment solution for the new power generation facility. Basing the decision on SAMCO’s technical expertise, cost-effective solution design, and its ability to meet the EPC’s unique procedures and timeline, the EPC found in SAMCO a new partner who helped the project to proceed smoothly and successfully.


Situated near a river, the power plant would have an ample supply of water for its operational needs, but it required an appropriate water treatment system to make the raw surface water suitable for various applications within the facility. The solution design needed to address a few key challenges, including:

  • Limited space. The plant occupies a 20-acre site that was formerly home to a prior industrial facility. The engineering team planned to replace the existing river intake pumps while maintaining the same location, so the water treatment plant needed to fit within the allotted space.    
  • Low tolerance for contaminants. The combined-cycle power plant uses both gas and steam turbines, and therefore requires a high level of water quality to ensure safe and efficient performance of its heat-driven energy generation equipment.
  • Low tolerance for project delays. In contracting with an EPC, the owner expected delivery on an agreed-upon timeline. Any project delays carried the potential for damage to the customer relationship, cost overruns, and higher overhead.

Although these challenges are common for major construction projects, this combination of project constraints needed to be considered throughout the entire design, build, and delivery process.


SAMCO’s internal processes leverage a highly individualized, customer-centered approach that is a natural match for the EPC model. With engineering, project management, and fabrication teams all housed under one roof, SAMCO was able to provide close consultation and expert advice throughout the design, engineering, and startup phases. “The technical expertise that SAMCO brought to the table was really helpful,” said a Process Design Engineer who oversaw the project for the EPC company, “Sometimes on projects, you get cookie-cutter responses from water treatment vendors where they’re not necessarily putting a lot of thought behind a specific project. And that definitely wasn’t our experience on this project. SAMCO had the technical expertise to give us everything that we were asking for, and also help us come to decisions on what we might want to add. It just felt like we were really able to work with SAMCO on this project.”

As a result, SAMCO succeeded in delivering a turnkey raw water treatment system that not only met all project objectives and held to the promised timeline, but also provided added benefits due to its tailored design.

Full-cycle services

SAMCO provided a full range of services throughout the project, to deliver a turnkey three-stage water treatment system. Beginning with the engineering and design phases of the project, SAMCO provided consultative advice to assist in the development of project specifications. To do so, SAMCO prepared detailed process, mechanical, and electrical plans, as well as pad and installation layout drawings. As the project moved into the procurement phase, SAMCO provided full submittal packages in line with the EPC firm’s processes and deadlines. Complete with three-dimensional CAD models, SAMCO’s submittals demonstrated in detail how the solution design met all project specifications.

As the project moved into the construction phase, SAMCO fabricated all water treatment system to specification. Per its standard protocols, SAMCO ran quality assurance checks and factory acceptance testing to ensure top-notch workmanship prior to shipping and delivery. By providing all of these services directly, SAMCO was able to maintain full control of the build process to ensure accuracy and avoid delays.

When it came time for delivery, SAMCO coordinated shipments with the EPC firm to make sure that they arrived when the onsite construction team was ready to receive the components at the site. Holding the shipments was just one small way that SAMCO went above and beyond, allowing the EPC firm to avoid having to arrange for storage. SAMCO further strengthened its relationship with the construction team by providing installation oversight and startup commissioning services, offering its expertise to ensure that the field install went smoothly. In all, the design, bid, and build processes went smoothly, and system performance has continued to meet flow rate, water quality, and uptime specifications since it was first brought online in late 2021. The facility can expect consistent performance into the future as well, since the system is backed by SAMCO’s four-year warranty.

Compact raw water treatment subsystem

The power plant draws surface water from the nearby river for use in a variety of service and utility applications, including use in steam turbines. To ensure the facility has a consistent supply of water to suit all of its needs, SAMCO’s solution design starts with a 4000 GPM raw water treatment subsystem. The system features a space-saving design, including chemical treatment and a ballasted clarifier for efficient settling of solids and particulates, followed by gravity sand filtration. Designed to support continuous operation, SAMCO arranged the filtration units in a bank configuration to allow individual units to run in online, standby, or backwash modes. This design allows the facility to perform routine maintenance without interruption or reduction of treatment capacity. In all, the system design delivers a consistently high flow rate, and treated water of sufficient quality to support plant utility water needs.   

High-flow service water subsystem

SAMCO’s solution design features a service water subsystem designed to treat source water to a higher degree of clarity for use in cooling, cleaning, and other applications. The system leverages chemical pre-treatment and a high-flow multistage sand filter to deliver a uniform 500 GPM flow rate to consistently meet the plant’s service water needs, as well as pretreatment ahead of a downstream boiler feedwater treatment subsystem. 

Demineralization subsystem for high-quality boiler feedwater

The end-customer required a consistent supply of high-purity water to ensure safe and efficient operation of high-pressure boilers and steam turbines in use at the power plant. To meet this need, SAMCO designed a 300 GPM multistage demineralization subsystem, featuring reverse osmosis (RO), electrodeionization (EDI), and ion exchange (IX) polishing technologies. Pretreated water is first routed through a pair of double-pass RO units with caustic injection for enhanced carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, followed by a pair of EDI units with mixed exchange resins. Use of EDI technology for polishing allows the facility to reduce total dissolved solids (TDS) without the use of hazardous chemicals. The system provides a consistent source of ultrapure water for the facility, with near-undetectable levels of metals and silica, and a resistivity of only 18 megaohms (MΩ-cm), sufficient to ensure efficient heating and minimal maintenance for the plant’s boilers and steam turbines.


The delivered water treatment system is efficient, reliable, and compact, meeting the objectives and goals of the project. Key successes include:

  • Small footprint. In designing a solution for the customer, SAMCO balanced elements of cost, performance, and size to put forward the best possible system to fit the owner’s objectives. By utilizing technologies like ballasted clarifiers, SAMCO was able to conserve space while delivering the highest treatment capacity possible. 
  • Ultrapure water. The water treatment system consists of three subsystems that produce higher water quality at each step. This design allows the facility to optimize performance of downstream technologies and minimize fouling and maintenance, while producing very high quality water. With a conductivity of only 18 megohms (MΩ-cm) after polishing, the treated water is suitable for use in high-heat and high-pressure applications, allowing for more efficient heating/cooling, while also promoting a longer service life for equipment by removing contaminants that cause scaling and corrosion.
  • Efficient delivery. SAMCO drew on its integrated project management, engineering, and fabrication teams for prompt completion at all phases. From ensuring that proposed deadlines were realistic and achievable during the submittal process, to conducting quality control checks throughout build and installation processes, SAMCO kept the project on time, and on budget.


In the words of a process design engineer who worked closely with SAMCO on the project, “from what I’ve seen, there seems to be a lot better quality control at SAMCO based on having everything integrated. With SAMCO, we were able to get a high degree of confidence that what was coming from SAMCO was what we needed off the bat.” By offering resources including cross-purpose teams of experts, and a unique, customer-centered approach, SAMCO was able to deliver all systems and services according to the EPC firm’s specific methods, keeping the project on track, and keeping customer satisfaction high.

How can SAMCO help?

SAMCO has over 40 years’ experience custom-designing and manufacturing water treatment systems designed to conserve water and energy resources, so please feel free to reach out to us with your questions.

For more information or to get in touch, contact us here to set up a consultation with an engineer or request a quote. We can walk you through the steps for developing the proper solution and realistic cost for optimizing water use at your electrical generation facility.

Head on over to our blog to learn more about industrial filtration and process separation technology. Some articles that might be of specific interest to you include:

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