Santa Barbara gets OK for desalination restart

A California state board has approved a permit to allow the city of Santa Barbara to restart its seawater desalination plant.

The Central Coast Regional Water Board said Monday that its action modifies a 1991 permit to clarify that the facility meets state requirements for operating an open-ocean intake. The city agreed to update the plant's screen technology and pay US$ 500,000 toward a coastal restoration project.

The city estimated last May that it would need US$ 20 million in technological upgrades, a cost likely to be borne by ratepayers.

A restart would require city council approval.

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