Carlsbad Desal Project secures discharge permit condition
Poseidon Resources Corporation announced, twenty months after the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously to approve a water discharge permit for Carlsbad Desalination Project, that the Regional Board has approved a key permit condition that moves the project closer to construction. The discharge permit includes a number of stringent environmental protections designed to regulate the discharge of the concentrated seawater byproduct of the desalination process...
• For second time in two years, regional board approves desal project
CARLSBAD, CA, April 9, 2008 -- Poseidon Resources Corporation announced, twenty months after the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) voted unanimously to approve a water discharge permit for Carlsbad Desalination Project, that the Regional Board has approved a key permit condition that moves the project closer to construction. The discharge permit, which lasts five years, includes a number of stringent environmental protections designed to regulate the discharge of the concentrated seawater byproduct of the desalination process.
In August 2006, the Regional Board approved a discharge permit for the Carlsbad facility along with a condition that contemplated the eventual decommissioning of the seawater-cooled Encina Power Station, the Carlsbad Desalination Project's site host. In anticipation that the power plant might not always satisfy the desal plant's source water demands, the Regional Board required Poseidon to prepare a Flow, Entrainment, and Impingement Minimization Plan to "assess the feasibility of site-specific plans, procedures, and practices to be implemented and/or mitigation measures to minimize the impacts to marine organisms when the desalination plant's intake requirements exceed the volume of water being discharge by the power plant." This plan was prepared by Poseidon in Feb. 2007 and was available for public comment for the past 13 months.
"The discharge permit and its conditions include meaningful, far-reaching regulations that will ensure that the plant is operated consistent with applicable state laws," said Poseidon Senior Vice President Peter MacLaggan. "The Regional Board's approval of the marine impact minimization plan is further indication that one of the state's key regulatory agencies has reached the conclusion that the desalination plant can be operated in an environmentally responsible manner, without negative impacts to the marine ecosystem," said MacLaggan.
Under state law - Water Code Section 13142.5(b) - industrial facilities, like the desalination plant, that use seawater for processing are required to use the best available site, design, technology, and mitigation feasible to minimize impacts to marine life.
"Poseidon and the City of Carlsbad have always anticipated that the desalination plant would eventually outlive the power plant, which is why the impacts of the desalination plant without the power plant in operation were studied in the certified Environmental Impact Report and regulated under the Regional Board's discharge permit," said MacLaggan. "For both existing conditions and under the scenario in which the power plant is not operating, the desalination plant's impacts would be less than significant after mitigation measures," he said.
"The Regional Board's approval of our minimization plan expedites the project's permitting process and establishes a state-agency coordinated process for identification of the best available mitigation feasible to minimize project related impacts to marine life," said MacLaggan.
Poseidon has proposed a comprehensive but flexible approach for mitigating the desalination plant's potential marine impacts consistent with the discharge permit conditions. This approach is based on:
• Conservatively (over) estimating maximum potential impacts
• Identifying goals and objectives of the mitigation program
• Identifying available mitigation opportunities that meet the goals and objectives
• Developing an implementation plan for coordinating with regulatory and resource agencies to finalize locations and acreages selected for the proposed mitigation.
Once operational, the Carlsbad desalination plant will provide enough drinking water to serve 300,000 residents annually at a guaranteed price, at no financial risk to taxpayers. Construction of the plant is scheduled to be begin by the end of 2008.
Poseidon Resources specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants. These projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon Resources and the Carlsbad desalination plant visit: www.carlsbad-desal.com