Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board Deems Complete Huntington Beach Desalination Project Application
Determination marks important milestone in the final phase of project permitting
Huntington Beach, CA – Today, Poseidon Water announced that the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) has deemed complete the Huntington Beach Desalination Project (“Project”) application to amend and renew its existing ocean discharge permit and for a determination that the proposed Project complies with the California’s new, stringent seawater desalination regulations.
The Regional Board first approved the Project’s ocean discharge permit in 2006. The Regional Board’s permit, a five-year operating permit, was amended and renewed in 2012, at which point the Regional Board determined that the proposed project would use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasibility to minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life consistent with the requirements of California Water Code Section 13142.5(b).
In May 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an amendment to the California Ocean Plan creating new regulations for demonstrating compliance with CWC Section 13142.5(b). On March 15, 2016, Poseidon enhanced the Project’s seawater intake and discharge technologies to demonstrate compliance with the new state regulations and submitted its permit renewal application to the Regional Board. Over the past seventeen months Poseidon provided over 100 reports and technical memoranda demonstrating the amended Project’s compliance with California’s new seawater desalination regulations.
“We are grateful to the staffs of the State and Regional Water Boards for their thoughtful consideration of our application, input towards developing the exhaustive environmental analysis and the determination that the Regional Board now has sufficient information to determine compliance with the state’s new seawater desalination regulations,” said Poseidon Vice President Scott Maloni.
In October 2016, Poseidon Water and the staffs of the California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission and Regional Board executed an agreement for the timely and orderly processing of the Project’s final permit approvals. The Regional Board’s determination that Poseidon’s application is complete is an important milestone in the remaining permitting schedule. The Regional Board can now finalize its review of the reports that Poseidon has provided and start the process of drafting the ocean discharge permit amendment and analysis necessary to show the Project’s compliance with the California Ocean Plan’s new seawater desalination regulations.
The proposed Huntington Beach Project will be the first large-scale desalination facility in the world to include 1mm (1/25th inch, approximately the thickness of a credit card) slot width seawater intake screens and have a through-screen water velocity of less than 0.5 feet per second in an open-ocean setting. The plant will also include state-of-the-art diffuser technology that will ensure that the salinity level in the plant’s seawater discharge meets the State Water Board’s stringent new receiving water quality requirements.
In addition, as a leader in the industry, Poseidon has voluntarily committed to offsetting 100% of the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Plant’s direct and indirect GHG emissions from the electricity grid through either the purchase of renewable power or the purchase of carbon offsets. While the reverse osmosis process to be used by Poseidon’s seawater desalination facility does not emit greenhouse gases, energy purchased from the grid may incur a carbon footprint for which Poseidon has developed a protocol for identifying, securing, monitoring and updating measures to eliminate GHG impact.
“We are proud of this unprecedented commitment, which will make the Huntington Beach facility the largest water treatment plant in California that is 100% carbon neutral. Once completed, Huntington Beach will be home to the largest, most technologically advanced, energy efficient and environmentally responsible seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere,” Maloni said.
In 2015, the Orange County Water District’s Board of Directors approved a Water Reliability Agreement Term Sheet for the purchase of 50 million gallons per day of drinking water from the proposed project. In a letter to the Regional Board sharing its policy of moving away from climate-driven sources of water, the Orange County Water District stated, “The Huntington Beach Desalination Project is the single largest source of new, local drinking water supply available to the region. In addition to offsetting imported water demand, water from the Project could provide flexibility in how the District manages the groundwater basin.”
Poseidon Water specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants in an environmentally sensitive manner. These projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon Water and the Huntington Beach desalination facility, visit http://HBfreshwater.com.
“Desalination must be included in any discussion of future water sources for Orange County."