Huntington Beach Poseidon Desalination Proposal

From ActCoastal

Month November
Year 2013
Summary Poseidon Water proposed to build a 50 million gallon per day (MGD) seawater desalination plant to be co-located with the AES Power Plant in Huntington Beach. The plan would be equivalent in size to the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The plant would use an open ocean intake to withdraw more than 100 MGD from the state’s coastal waters, as well as an open ocean discharge pipe to dispose of concentrated brine and various chemical pollutants.
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Outcome Description Most Commissioners were concerned about major damage to marine life caused by an open ocean intake. They also objected to Poseidon’s refusal to use less damaging subsurface intakes or available diffuser technology to reduce the impacts of the plant’s brine discharge. In the face of a Commission denial, Poseidon withdrew its application and agreed to study other subsurface technologies that avoid or reduce the plant’s adverse impacts before resubmitting its application.
Why You Should Care Seawater desalination plants are being proposed throughout the California coast. Although desalination may be appropriate in some places, they should use best available technology to reduce harm to ocean life to the greatest extent possible. Poseidon proposed outdated technology that failed to minimize harm to ocean life. Located within 25 miles of nine newly established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the proposed facility could have negatively harmed biological resources within and between the MPAs. It would also have undermined the planned phase-out of open ocean intakes at 19 coastal power plants and set a low bar for all future desalination proposals along the coast.
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Decision Type In 2010, the CCC found substantial issue for an appeal regarding the City of Huntington Beach’s approval of a coastal development permit. At this hearing, the CCC considered the substance of the appeal as well as a separate application for a permit, sought under the CCC’s retained jurisdiction, for the plant’s intake and discharge
Staff Recommendation Denial of project as submitted by Poseidon and approval of a seawater desalination plant with 21 special conditions, including the use of subsurface intakes and spray brine diffusers.
Staff Report
Lobbyist/Agent Rick Zbur of Latham and Watkins; Susan McCabe of McCabe and Associates
Opposition to Project Appellants and opponents argued that permits for the project should be denied based on inconsistencies with the Huntington Beach Local Coastal Plan and the Coastal Act. However, the opposition argued that if the Commission were inclined to approve the project, it should do so only if all 21 Special Conditions were included, including the requirement to use Subsurface Intakes and Spray Brine Diffusers.
Coastal Act Policies Multiple, including LCP C. 6.1.1 -.4, .19 and Coastal Act Policies 30230 and 30231.

Voting Detail for Huntington Beach Poseidon Desalination Proposal

Individual vote detail for Issue: Huntington Beach Poseidon Desalination Proposal
Carole GroomGood Vote
Brian BrennanGood Vote
Mary K. ShallenbergerGood Vote
Martha McClureGood Vote
Dr. Robert GarciaGood Vote
Dayna BochcoGood Vote
Greg CoxGood Vote
Wendy MitchellGood Vote
Jana ZimmerGood Vote
Mark VargasGood Vote
Steve KinseyGood Vote

Meeting Page

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