Now Drink This

The California Coastal Commission has issued the Poseidon Resources Corporation a construction permit for the Carlsbad desalination project, according to a November 3 press release.

“With this permit in hand, the project’s preconstruction phase formally begins now with the initiation of site demolition and preparation,” read the release.

The projected $320 million facility will be built adjacent to the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. When completed in 2012, the 50-million-gallon-per-day plant will supply about 10 percent of the San Diego region’s drinking-water needs. In addition to Carlsbad, water agencies in 12 surrounding cities plan on using water from the facility.

The construction permit is the culmination of ten years of study, lawsuits, and compromises; Poseidon made the initial application in 1998. When completed, the facility will be the largest water-desalination plant in the western hemisphere, but only the second to be built in San Diego County.

The first desalination plant was built in 1963, a pilot project of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Saline Water. Operated in Point Loma, the plant supplied 50,000 gallons per day to local residents for over a year. Dismantled in 1964, the plant was shipped to Guantanamo, Cuba, in response to Fidel Castro’s disconnection of water lines to the American base.

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Joe - great post!

I used the links you mentioned as part of my research for the article except the link to the desal plant in Australia. Didn't know about that one. They are informative.

The Carlsbad plant will be the prototype agreement structure for some of the other plants Poseidon has in the works. The water is there, we might as well find a way to use it in a responsible manner.

Study from Chevron Australia on a similar plant: http://www.chevronaustralia.com/Libraries/Chevron_Documents/Appendix_B_G1-NT-REPX0001635.sflb.ashx

Here is what happened to the 1963 plant that went to Cuba: http://www.energyrecovery.com/UserFiles/file/archives/news/documents/40YearsofSWDesalatGuantanomoBay.pdf

There are videos here: http://www.carlsbad-desal.com/project_overview.asp that explain how the process works.

The Carlsbad plant seems like a sound plan. Mixing the waste brine with the discharge from the powerplant next door will greatly reduce any environmental impact.

Crazy to think about though - sucking 100 million gallons of sea water and discharging 50 million all in a 24 hour period!

whoa! - Joe

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