Congress approves funding for Long Beach desal plant

Included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 4818; H. Rept. 108-792) for FY 2005 spending passed by Congress late Saturday evening, nearly two months into the fiscal year, was $2 million for seawater desalination and reclaimed water projects in the Los Angeles area...

LONG BEACH, CA, Nov. 22, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 4818; H. Rept. 108-792) for FY 2005 spending passed by Congress late Saturday evening, nearly two months into the fiscal year, was $2 million for seawater desalination and reclaimed water projects in the Los Angeles area.

Among the omnibus appropriations measure is $1 million for the Long Beach Seawater Desalination Project and another $1 million for the Long Beach Water Reuse Project, aimed at expanding the City's use of reclaimed water. President Bush is expected to sign the bill next week.

With passage of the FY'05 omnibus spending bill, the Long Beach Water Department received its third $1 million earmark in four years for design and construction of a prototype desalination research and development facility that will be located at the Haynes Generation Station, operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, in Long Beach. Total cost for the project is $8 million.

"This reconfirms the federal government's support for the cutting-edge technology being developed by the Long Beach Water Department," stated Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department.

Recognizing the potential and national significance of the Department's Seawater Desalination efforts, the project is strongly supported by numerous members of Congress, including Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Carson), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

The Long Beach Water Department currently operates a desalination pilot plant, which uses a unique membrane technology developed by Long Beach Water Department engineers, to desalinate seawater. The technology is known as the "Long Beach Method." Independent analyses show the technology to be 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than traditional desalination methods.

Congress' action on Saturday continues federal investment in this nationally-impacting project, made possible through a partnership with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The technology, among other things, will be tested to verify and further develop energy savings and optimize the process so that it can be enlarged and possibly duplicated throughout the United States.

The Long Beach Water Department (www.lbwater.org) is a large, urban Southern California municipal water supply agency.

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