Poseidon Water’s extensive-delayed designs to develop one of the West Coast’s greatest seawater desalination crops on the Huntington Seaside shoreline seem headed for a critical acceptance.
A regional drinking water board is proposing to grant Poseidon permits for a $one-billion desalting facility that would every year deliver sufficient ingesting drinking water to provide 100,000 Orange County homes.
The board will not vote on the job until March and Poseidon nonetheless wants acceptance from the California Coastal Commission.
But the water board’s tentative allow is a important boost for a venture that has been mired in delays and controversy given that it was initially proposed two decades in the past.
“We are one particular move nearer to offering Orange County with a 100% drought evidence, climate resilient new drinking water offer project,” Poseidon communications director Jessica Jones claimed in an email.
In a tentative allow that Poseidon opponents promptly criticized, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Management Board would allow for the corporation to use present ocean pipes to draw seawater and discharge the brine remaining about from the desalting method.
“The regional board gave Poseidon every little thing they requested for,” explained Sean Bothwell, executive director of California Coastkeeper Alliance, just one of several environmental teams that have lengthy fought the venture.
“If the permit stays as it is now, we’ll definitely be appealing this,” he added.
As the very first significant coastal desalination plant to search for acceptance under new point out ocean security principles, the destiny of Poseidon’s Huntington Beach front facility could set the program for potential projects, such as a h2o district’s proposal to make a seawater desalter off the Los Angeles coast in El Segundo.
The proposed ocean consumption off of Huntington Seashore has been a important stage of rivalry. It would, with some modification, carry on a form of seawater withdrawal that the state requested coastal electric power plants to section out due to the fact it killed moment marine life.
Poseidon options to construct the desalter subsequent to the AES Huntington Seashore Building Station, and immediately after the electrical power plant stops working with seawater for cooling, connect the new desalter to the aged AES ingestion pipe that reaches about a quarter-mile into the Pacific Ocean and is huge plenty of for a tractor-trailer to push through.
The point out Coastal Fee team has pushed Poseidon to abandon the open up ocean ingestion, which sucks up plankton, fish larvae and other organisms that are a vital section of the sea’s foodstuff chain.
As an alternative, the commission personnel has urged the firm to build an offshore subsurface intake named an infiltration gallery — a grid of perforated collection pipes beneath the ocean floor that attracts seawater without having pulling in marine organisms.
But it is the regional water board, not the Coastal Commission, that challenges permits for Poseidon’s ocean consumption and discharge. Citing a provision in the new ocean policies, board staff members concluded that subsurface intakes wouldn’t do the job for this sort of a huge-volume desalination operation.
Poseidon has agreed to put in great-mesh screens on the consumption to cut down marine mortality. It will also attach diffusing devices to the conclude of the outfall pipe to avert the dense brine effluent — 2 times as salty as seawater — from falling to the ocean flooring in a lethal mass.
“The tentative buy is scientifically sound … and the right way finds the proposed facility complies with the California Ocean Program by making use of the most effective out there web-site, style and design, technologies and mitigation measures feasible,” Jones mentioned.
Ocean advocates argued that the h2o board proposal ignores the main of the new condition desalination safeguards.
“They’re not necessitating Poseidon to meet up with any of the top tier standards in the desalination [rules], which are the crucial criteria,” claimed Susan Jordan, government director of the California Coastal Defense Community.
Despite seawater desalination’s enchantment as a drought-evidence h2o source in a semi-arid state, California has been gradual to embrace the coastal crops, which are energy intense, make high priced drinking water and actual a toll on the ocean ecosystem.
Poseidon has used additional than $1.six million on lobbying and political campaign contributions for the duration of the earlier two a long time to get over these reservations. In 2017, it employed former California Sen. Barbara Boxer to lobby the coastal commission.
The enterprise, which is owned by an international infrastructure company, crafted California’s very first large seawater desalter on the Carlsbad coastline in San Diego County.
That facility was lately marketed to Aberdeen Regular Investments for an undisclosed sum. Poseidon will keep on to run the plant, which has a long-phrase deal to supply the San Diego County Drinking water Authority.
Poseidon has a nonbinding arrangement with the Orange County Drinking water District to obtain the Huntington Seaside supplies, but no last agreement.
A latest study by a different Orange County agency concluded that other, fewer pricey drinking water resources could meet the area’s long run need.