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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Surfrider Foundation Continues to Fight Desalination Plant


Environmental Group Continues to Fight Desalination Plant

Thursday, January 11, 2007
By Jenn Harris

While the proposed Huntington Beach plant faces opposition, another in Long Beach receives receives a long-awaited patent.

HUNTINGTON BEACH - Even after the rejection of its lawsuit against the city, the Surfrider Foundation will continue to fight plans for the proposed Poseidon seawater desalination plant.

The Surfrider Foundation and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the city of Huntington Beach, arguing that the required environmental report of the proposed plant was inconclusive. They did not believe the report adequately addressed the dangers the plant could pose to marine life in the area.

Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez ruled on Nov. 27 that there would be no environmental challenge to the report on the plant. The environmental report was already given approval by the Huntington Beach City Council in September 2005. Permits were granted for the project the following March.

The proposed plant is planned to be located on Coast Highway and Newland Street. It would be capable of desalinating 50 million gallons of seawater a day.

The Surfrider Foundation said it will continue to challenge the Southern California Regional Water Quality Control Board on this issue. It plans on disputing the plant's coastal development permit that was previously granted by the city, as well as a future permit that the commission will most likely consider in Spring 2007.

In related news, a new desalination process that could significantly increase Long Beach's water supply was given a patent Nov. 28 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent was put into effect Dec. 5, nearly four years after the city first applied for it.

Diem Vuong, the Water Department's recently retired assistant general manager, invented the two-step filtration method.

The process is capable of producing 300,000 gallons of desalinated water a day. The city of Long Beach plans to build a larger system, capable of producing 10 million gallons of desalinated water a day, if further testing goes well.

-Jenn Harris


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