Desalination plant gaining support

Poseidon Resources has gained support from Orange County cities and water districts for its $350 million project


HUNTINGTON BEACH – Poseidon Resources has gained support from Orange County cities and water districts for its $350 million project that would convert seawater into drinking water to combat the drought plaguing the county.

Seal Beach City Council members on Monday voted to join a list of 14 other agencies that have signed a letter of intent to use water from the proposed desalination plant at the AES power plant on Newland Street near Pacific Coast Highway.

Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana and the Metropolitan Water District, among others, have said they are interested in buying water from Poseidon.

The project would generate about 50 million gallons of drinkable water every day by tapping in to the 275 million gallons already flowing in to the AES plant to cool its equipment, officials say.

Poseidon spokesman Brian Lochrie said the 50 million gallons the facility would produce are nearly spoken for with the cities and water districts who have signed letters of intent.

“This shows…that there is a need and a desire from the public water agencies throughout Orange County that the water will be purchased and will be bought,” he said.

Some environmentalist groups have been fighting the project saying it would have harmful effects on the environment, use too much energy and cost taxpayers too much money.

Poseidon officials say they have studied the impacts on the environment and have planned for ways to lessen any negative effects, such as setting aside 66 acres of new coastal habitat that serves as a breeding ground for fish.

The company is also working on another report of its environmental impacts to present to Huntington Beach in 2010, Lochrie said. The report will look at the impacts if the Poseidon facility would operate in a different area on the power plant site and if it operated as a stand-alone facility.

The project needs to gain approvals from the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission before starting work to get the plant up and running. Lochrie said company officials hope to go before both commissions by the end of 2010.

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