Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
July 7 — The California State Water Resources Control Board has released proposed amendments to the state's ocean plan that addresses desalination facility intakes and brine discharges.
Generally, desalination plants remove salts from saltwater and brackish water to produce freshwater for municipal uses.
The main environmental impacts associated with desalination facilities are marine life entrainment—or the death of small organisms present in the surface or subsurface seawater piped into a plant—and the discharge of brine as a waste-product back into the ocean after the process.
As such, the primary purpose of the July 3 desalination amendment is “to protect ocean water quality and marine life from those impacts associated with seawater desalination facility intakes and discharges.”
The amendment is also meant to remove regulatory and permitting inconsistencies and uncertainties, according to the board.
Currently, the board and regional water quality boards regulate brine discharges from desalination facilities by issuing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that contain certain conditions.
The state's ocean plan, however, does not contain objective standards for elevated salinity levels and does not describe how brine discharges are to be regulated and controlled.
According to the board, the proposals would enhance the state's ocean plan by:
Litigation concerning environmental review and permitting of desalination plants has occurred in both northern and southern California.
In September 2013, the California Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court ruling that Marin Municipal Water District adequately considered potential adverse impacts of a proposed desalination plant under the California Environmental Quality Act (N. Coast Rivers Alliance v. Marin Mun. Water Dist. Bd. of Dirs., Cal., No. S211742, 9/11/13).
The plant, which would take seawater from San Rafael Bay, would initially have a capacity of 5 million gallons per day. The water district would eventually be able to triple the plant's capacity.
In November 2012, the California Court of Appeal affirmed a superior court ruling that the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region, complied with the requirements of the California Water Code when it granted a NPDES permit to Poseidon Resources (now Poseidon Water) (Surfrider Found. v. California Reg'l Water Quality Control Bd., 149 Cal.Rptr. 3d 763 (Cal Ct. App. 2012)).
Poseidon plans to build the facility in Carlsbad, which is located north of San Diego. It would produce up to 50 million gallons per day.
Poseidon did, however, withdraw in November 2013 its California Coastal Commission permit for a proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant after the commission expressed concerns related to coastal protection issues under the California Coastal Act and Huntington Beach's Local Coastal Program.
According to the notice of opportunity for public comment, a public workshop to provide information and answer questions on the proposed amendments will be held Aug. 6 at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters.
Written and oral comments must be received by the board by noon on Aug. 19. A hearing to receive public input and comments will also be held at the headquarters that day.
Questions about the notice should be directed to Claire Waggoner at (916) 341-5582 or Claire.Waggoner@waterboards.ca.gov or Maria de la Paz Carpio-Obeso at (916) 341-5858 or MarielaPaz.Carpio-Obeso@waterboards.ca.gov.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lars-Eric Hedberg in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at email@example.com
The proposed desalination amendment of the California State Water Resources Control Board in the State Ocean Plan is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=lheg-9lspze.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)