It's been ten years since the Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant first came to Surf City with hopes of building its first west coast project. Now, after years of failed votes at city hall, lengthy reviews by the Coastal Commission, and clashes with environmental groups like Surfrider, the company is once again poised to turn water into brine–wait, I have that backwards, right?–in Huntington Beach.
According to a Dec. 27 story that ran in the Huntington Beach Independent, now that Poseidon has secured permits for a proposed facility in Carlsbad, the company is hoping to do the same in Surf City.
As originally envisioned a decade ago, Poseidon would use both power and water from the AES plant on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway as well as drawing water directly from the ocean. The company now claims it could produce up to 50 million gallons of potable water per day once the facility is up and running.
Critics have questioned both the quality of the water the desal plant would produce as well as the cost to taxpayers. And environmental groups say that the plant's intake pumps will harm marine life, as will the 50 million gallons of briny runoff created each day.
Back when Huntington Beach city officials first took up this issue, we published a story containing ten reasons to vote down the project, which is exactly what happened. According to an October 2012 report by public radio station KPCC, however, Poseidon conducted its own public opinion poll last year and found that two-thirds of respondents support the project. Stay tuned to see how things unfold this time around.