Santa Barbara OK for desalination site clean up

The city of Santa Barbara has approved expenditure of US$ 2.3 million to clean up soil contamination at the site of its re-started US$ 55 million desalination plant.

Crews working to reactivate the plant in November found glass, bricks, ceramic and lead in the soil. The soil must be hauled out and the city needs to purchase new soils to backfill.

According to the city, it will cost US$ 1.6 million to handle the soils and another $500,000 to maintain the project on schedule, along with a $200,000 contingency.

The desalination plant will produce about 10,000 Ml year at the starting level, which represents about a quarter of the city’s water demand. It has the capacity to produce up to 19,000 Ml a year, or 12,500 Ml with more construction.

Construction crews are working to re-start the plant that was built in the 1990s and put in standby mode. It should start producing water this autumn. The city is in talks with the Montecito Water District about partnering up to share the water.