Santa Cruz desalination EIR comment deadline in July

The draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the 2.5 MGD (9,500 m³/d) seawater desalination plant for the greater Santa Cruz area in California, USA, which was released on 13 May 2013, will be available for public comment until 15 July 2013.

The scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project, potentially expandable to 4.5 MGD (17,000 m³/d), will provide supply during droughts, maintain river and stream levels to protect endangered fish and restore protective groundwater levels.

The plant, which a joint project between the City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District, will be use reverse-osmosis technology. Brine will be disposed of via the city’s wastewater treatment plant outfall.

The EIR lists the following probable areas of controversy for the project:

· Whether the proposed project is needed by the city and/or the district.
· The extent to which growth contributes to the need for the proposed project.
· Whether alternatives to the proposed project could meet the water supply needs of the city and district.
· Energy use of desalination and associated greenhouse-gas emissions.
· Effects of the project on the marine environment.
· Costs of desalination and implications for the ratepayer.
· Where the project components will be located and their effects to the shoreline, beach, and marine environment.
· Quality of the desalinated product water.