Preconstruction for Carlsbad desalination can go ahead

Site demolition and preparation for the Carlsbad Desalination Project can now take place following the issue to Poseidon Resources on 3 November 2009 of its Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the California Coastal Commission (CCC).

Poseidon first introduced its project in 1998 and initiated the permitting process in 2003. It has spent the past six years permitting the project, a process that included over 15 public hearings and 80 hours of public testimony and deliberation. Over this period, the CCC (2 hearings), the City of Carlsbad, the State Lands Commission (2 hearings) and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (6 hearings) all approved the project.

Poseidon and the CCC staff have spent the past year working together to finalize the CDP requirements of a Marine Life Protection Plan and an Energy Minimization & Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. On 3 November, CCC staff informed Poseidon that all the “prior to issuance” and “prior to construction” conditions had been met and that the permit has been issued.

The Carlsbad project involves a public-private partnership between Poseidon Resources, the City of Carlsbad and eight other public water agencies to construct a 50 MGD (189,000 m³/d) seawater desalination facility. Once operational in 2012, the plant will provide enough drinking water to serve 300,000 residents annually at a guaranteed price still under discussion.

Last month, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation filed a joint request for revocation of Poseidon’s permit application.