Huntington Beach desalination project get NPDES permit

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (SARWQCB) in California, USA, on 10 February 2012 unanimously approved an amended National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project.

The board's approval of the 50 MGD (189,000 m³/d) seawater reverse-osmosis project allows the California Coastal Commission to consider approval of the final permit necessary before desalination facility construction can start. Developer Poseidon Resources has applied for a Coastal Development Permit and a hearing is anticipated later this year.

SARWQCB first approved the project's permit in 2006 enabling the desalination facility to operate in unison with the co-located Huntington Beach Generating Station (HBGS). The amended permit allows the project to operate in a "stand-alone" mode when the powerplant is temporarily shut down; or when HBGS is operating but its seawater discharge volumes are insufficient to meet the project's 126.7 MGD (480,000 m³/d) intake requirements.

The project's stand-alone operations are regulated under California Water Code (CWC) Section 13142.5(b), which requires new industrial facilities using seawater for processing to use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation feasible to minimize intake and mortality of marine life. In approving the Huntington Beach desalination facility's temporary stand-alone operation SARWQCB found the project fully complies with the code.

Poseidon Resources vice president Scott Maloni said, "The regional board's approval confirms that the project's stand-alone operation complies with all applicable state and federal policies, laws and regulations, and the amended permit ensures long-term operational certainty necessary to provide Orange County with a reliable, new drought-proof water supply."

Once completed, the seawater desalination project will provide approximately 8% of Orange County's water supply needs.

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