Huntington Beach desalination standoff over intake system

Environmental group Orange County Coastkeeper (OC Coastkeeper) accused Poseidon Resources on 26 March 2012 of withholding information from the California Coastal Commission (CCC) about the proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant.

OC Coastkeeper maintains that this is delaying the commission’s ability to carry out a review of the project’s feasibility.

Poseidon, on the other hand, maintains that it believes it has supplied the CCC with adequate information and that the current standoff is a rerun of what happened at Carlsbad, where the company eventually bypassed the CCC staff and dealt directly with the commission itself.

Referring to a CCC response on 20 March 2012 to Poseidon’s most recent submission in February 2012, OC Coastkeeper says that Poseidon:

  • Provided out-of-date or inaccurate information from the August 2010 Supplemental Environmental Impact Report regarding seismic hazards, tsunami risks, and presence of wetlands
  • Refused to identify intake velocities for its standalone operation that is required to assess marine life impacts from entrainment and impingement
  • Failed to include a final plan detailing the path of the Costa Mesa pipeline required to deliver the water
  • Failed to provide the updated studies that show that the plant falls within the maximum inundation zone for tsunami risk
  • Failed to include the studies on seismic risks required by the SEIR given that a seismic fault runs directly under the proposed plant
  • Refused to provide updated project costs stating, erroneously, that updated costs would not change the project’s feasibility.
  • Poseidon’s Scott Maloni told D&WR that the impasse had nothing to do with Poseidon’s failure to provide complete and thorough information necessary for the CCC staff to deem its application complete.

    “Instead it has everything to do with the CCC staff’s preference for an alternative project design, specifically a desalination plant that utilizes an alternative subsurface seawater intake system,” Maloni responded.

    Poseidon is meeting CCC staff in the next few weeks to discuss their latest notice of incomplete application for Huntington Beach.

    “I hope to work out an agreement on the completeness of our application,” said Maloney, “but, if not, we are prepared to exercise our rights as an applicant and ‘call the question’ again as we did in Carlsbad.”