OC desalination slant-well testing to start

Testing of Phase 3 of the South Orange Coastal Ocean Desalination Project in Southern California will begin in the next few weeks, according to the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), which held a public open day at the test site on Doheny State Beach on 12 May 2010.

In February 2010, MWDOC awarded Separation Processes Inc a US$ 1.05 million Phase 3 contract for pumping, testing and treating water from the demonstration well installed in 2006.

The proposed project would use slant well technology to tap into the ocean water located in San Juan Creek and beneath the ocean floor. The natural formations in the area make this an ideal technology as it allows water to be filtered naturally through the sands and gravels.

The project costs would be reduced by eliminating the need for costly open-water intake and pretreatment facilities. Disposal of brine would be handled by blending it with other treated wastewater discharged more than a mile offshore through an existing outfall.

The completed project is expected to provide approximately 57,000 m³/d or 25% of the annual potable water needs of the project partners, which are currently almost 100% reliant upon imported supplies.

MWDOC is the managing organization on behalf of five local partners; Laguna County Water District, Moulton Niguel Water District, City of San Clemente, City of San Juan Capistrano and the South Coast Water District.

The full scale project has not yet been permitted and is expected to be completed in 2016. Phase 3 is expected to take approximately 18 months.