DANA POINT, California (CNS) — The California Coastal Commission unanimously approved plans for a desalination plant at Dana Point, just five months after rejecting one in Huntington Beach.
The South Coast Water District plant stuck off Doheny State Beach would work differently from plans for the Poseidon plant in Huntington Beach, which were shut down by the commission’s rejection in May.
The Dana Point project would use several angled wells to “collect seawater from below the seafloor to supply well water to the facility,” according to a commission report.
The facility would also use a “brine disposal system that would route wastewater from the facility to the nearby South Orange County Wastewater Authority wastewater treatment plant,” according to the staff report.
That was a major departure from the Poseidon project that would dump millions of gallons of salt brine into the ocean. The Poseidon project also featured an intake system that critics said would harm marine life.
By accessing the water underground, the Dana Point project “completely avoids the impact on marine life during operations of the facilities,” the staff report said. The Dana Point project, which has been about 18 years in the making, represents a first in the state to utilize this new underground system, the committee report said.
The Dana Point facility would produce approximately 5 million gallons of drinking water daily with the potential to eventually produce 15 million gallons per day. But an increase in volume would require further research and a larger pipeline, the report said.
The project would take about two years to build and would disrupt the beachfront campgrounds, but officials are working with the state parks system to provide alternate access to the campground.
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