Media Release

Penetron Crystalline Technology Helps Recycle Precious Water in Santa Fe


The renovation and upgrade of the La Pradera Wastewater Treatment Plant in Santa Fe, New México was completed in March 2021. PENETRON ADMIX and Penetron’s innovative anti-microbial concrete admixture were specified as a permanent waterproofing solution – and to protect key concrete structures from microbially induced corrosion (MIC).

The upscale La Pradera planned community lies just southwest of downtown Santa Fe. The residential development currently comprises 270 single-family homes and features easy access to nearby I-25 and clear views of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon. Each home is carefully insulated to minimize energy consumption and also integrates an innovative water-saving system.

“The Santa Fe region has a highland climate of cool, dry winters, hot summers and little rain,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “This makes water a very valuable resource.”

Last year, La Pradera Associates, the project owners/developers, responded to substantial leaks in one of the original tanks, finished in 2006, with a comprehensive repair plan for the trickling filter tank in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Repair work, which encompassed a repair of the original concrete floor to stop the leakage, and construction began in late summer 2020 and was completed in March 2021.

“The wastewater treatment plant will play a large role in helping the La Pradera community optimally manage and conserve water use,” notes Christopher Chen. “Once officially commissioned later this year, the new plant will help effectively recycle the effluent for subsurface irrigation of open space plantings.”

Recycling Effluent to Preserve Water

The recycling of treated effluent as ‘grey water’ for both irrigation and domestic use is one of many innovative water management solutions that will help the Santa Fe community and the Southwest USA improve management of an increasingly scarce resource. The La Pradera plant consists of three 25,000 gallon primary tanks, one 10,000 gallon anoxic tank, one 25,000 gallon recirculation tank, a system of nine filter pods, and one 15,000 gallon dosing tank.

For the original construction, the project engineers at Integrated Water Services (IWS) proposed a new water treatment process that allows a more sustainable use of treated effluent. The RINO experts also recommended PENETRON ADMIX, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, as the optimal waterproofing solution for the plant’s concrete tanks, and Penetron’s anti-microbial admixture, for specific concrete structures that were most susceptible to microbially induced corrosion (MIC). Penetron worked with Road Runner Ready Mix Albuquerque, the ready-mix supplier, to deliver a durable concrete mix.

“In addition to a durable waterproofing solution, La Pradera also needed to find a way to prevent microbially induced corrosion, which is often found in wastewater treatment plants – like the La Pradera facility,” adds Christopher Chen.

Keeping Bacteria Away

PENETRON ADMIX is added to the concrete mix at the time of batching. The active propriety chemicals in the admixture initiates a catalytic reaction to generate a non-soluble, lattice-like crystalline formation throughout the pores, micro-cracks and capillary tracts typically found in concrete. This formation essentially makes the concrete impermeable, stopping water and harmful chemicals from penetrating the concrete, even when facing high hydrostatic pressure.

Similar to PENETRON ADMIX, Penetron’s anti-microbial admixture is also added to the concrete mix during batching. This specialty admixture uses an electro-physical mechanism to destroy the cell walls of the microorganisms that convert hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) into biogenic sulfuric acid. The formation of biogenic sulfuric acid causes concrete to deteriorate, which is known as MIC.

Penetron’s anti-microbial admixture is a permanent solution; it forms part of the concrete matrix and is leach resistant. The effectiveness of the anti-microbial admixture does not diminish over time and remains active in the concrete.

“After searching for a concrete protection solution for over a year, we were very happy to have found the Penetron products,” comments John McCarthy, Managing Partner of La Pradera Associates. “Your product works great. We sealed the concrete to the ISO sides of the tank and have no leaks!”