Sunday, August 10, 2014

Red Hatters Tour the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, N.M.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter members of the National Red Hat Society enjoyed a very special treat today when they took part in a tour conducted by Randy Shaw, P.E., Facility Manager of the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research  Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We even had a couple of husbands tag along because they were interested in learning more.

Randy first gave a power point presentation in their spacious board room. He explained what exactly it is that they do at BGNDRF (pronounced Bigendorf) and most were surprised to learn that this is a federal research facility used by people from around the globe to test their inventions for reclaiming water. It is not a water reclamation facility as many believed. BGNDRF is facilitated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.

On March 21, 2014 the Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development announced the launch of the Desal Prize. The Desal Prize aims to incentivize the creation of a small-scale brackish water desalination technology that can provide potable water for humans, as well as water appropriate for agriculture in developing countries. They are seeking small-scale, household farming level technologies that are cost effective, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. They are seeking desalination technology that is powered by renewable energy which will work in rural or remote regions in developing countries. The grand prize is $250,000.00. Learn more about the Decal Prize by going to

Randy took us through the indoor facility including a huge room with five or six different types of desalination taking place. We then walked outside to see the agricultural area where they are testing salt loving desert plants for possibly making animal feed. We also saw huge holding tanks for brackish water and several types of desalination projects built on the property by people to test their inventions for reclaiming water.

Several of the girls brought small bottles of tap water for Randy to test. It was interesting to find how many had far too much salt in their water. Randy said numerous wars have been fought over water rights because it is so precious and vital to agriculture and for human and animal consumption.

If you have a group who would like to experience the tour and gain the knowledge of what is going on at 500 Lavelle Road in Alamogordo, New Mexico, just call Randy Shaw at 575-443-6553 at his office or his cell phone is 575-201-8410 or you can email him at

The group went to Sunset Run Barbecue Restaurant nearby on McDonald Road where 10th Street deadends and had a wonderful luncheon afterwards.

Entrance to the BGNDRF facility and it blends beautifully with desert surroundings

Queen Ladybird (Carla) in full birthday regalia
VQ Penny and Margie arriving
L to R: Carla, Darla, Dorothy E. and Lu
Jim and Melissa Stevenson brought water to be tested from their well on Laborcita Canyon Road and it turned out to be the purest water of all those tested
VQ Penny and Queen Carla
Our host and tour guide, Randy Shaw, P.E., Facility Manager starting the power point presentation
L to R: Margie, Jim, Penny, Melissa and Carla. Have no idea of what is so funny!
L to R: Darla, Carla, Randy, Dorothy S. and Penny at start of tour
Randy explaining how water is filtered and reclaimed
L to R: Randy, Carla, Margie, Darla, Lynne, Dorothy S. Jim and Melissa listening intently
L to R: (1) 500 mg/L of  Salt, (2) Ground Water Well, (3) Ocean Water and finally Dead Sea Water. Comparisons of salt in normal city water on up to Dead Sea water.
This is the large room where experiments are being conducted by various organizations around the globe
The group listening to Randy explain what is happening in all this machinery
Randy is explaining about all the experiments taking place outside
Sign at the entrance to the property
We are now at Sunset Run Restaurant and Queen Carla is doing some chapter housekeeping chores with Monica looking on
L to R: Lynne, Jim, Melissa and Dorothy waiting on menus
Still more housekeeping chores going on
L to R: Margie, VQ Penny and Darla looking happy that they got their food order in
Our world traveler (soon to be in Paris, France) Jean
Queen Carla doing yet more housekeeping chores
VQ Penny (standing) leading the birthday song with her kazoo for Queen Carla
The food was delicious and we had a lovely event. I owe my husband an apology because I didn't take his picture and he is always so faithful to take all of ours when he is along. Thanks, Douglas A. Kerr for your usual good photography. Thanks to Randy Shaw for enlightening us as to the true purpose of that lovely building at 500 Lavelle Road in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Please give Randy a call if you are at all interested. He is very proud of his involvement here and we are fortunate to have him running this facility.

This is all I have to say for now.

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