The water purifiers and water purifying systems that Sweetwater plans to build for the United States are designed to produce water for drinking, cooking, washing and laundry.
In 2018, the company received a $1.7 million contract to build and operate these systems at its two plants in New Orleans and Kansas City.
But there’s a catch: Sweetwater is required to pay for these systems.
The system that’s being built at the Louisiana plant will have to pay $3.3 million per year for maintenance, water bills and other costs that come with the project, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion.
The company says that’s a fair price, and the deal is in place until the system’s final completion.
The water systems at the two New Orleans plants are expected to be complete by 2022.
But the plant in Kansas City won’t be ready until 2023.
A spokesperson for Sweetwater told Recode the company expects to start construction on the two new systems at Kansas City in 2019.
Sweetwater’s plan is to pay customers for the water they use through a water conservation plan, and it also has to pay a set fee for the systems, which the company says are necessary to comply with Clean Water Act regulations.
The plan, which Sweetwater says is voluntary, requires the company to sell water that’s not actually used.
In 2017, the New Orleans plant had over 10 million gallons of water, but the total amount of water in use at that plant was just 3.7 trillion gallons, according to Sweetwater.
Sweetwaters’ new system is expected for the Mississippi River Delta, where the Mississippi and St. Louis rivers meet.
The plants are part of the Mississippi Water and Sewer Authority’s (MWSA) $6.2 billion plan to replace and expand infrastructure across the Mississippi, the largest water project in the country.
The MWA has already spent $1,800 million on new infrastructure in the Mississippi Delta, and Sweetwater has been trying to get the contract to replace the aging Mississippi River System and upgrade its infrastructure in Louisiana, Mississippi and Mississippi River Cities, where it hopes to build new facilities.
But officials in those states have raised concerns that SweetWater’s plans would be too costly, and state officials are looking at the other systems Sweetwater will build.
Mississippi Governor John Bel Edwards said in May that the MWA’s plan to spend $4 billion on infrastructure upgrades was “a massive waste of money.”
The MSA’s proposal has also sparked protests from residents of Louisiana, including some who want the plant closed.