DANA POINT, Calif. – The California Coastal Commission unanimously approved plans for a desalination plant in Dana Point, just five months after rejecting one in Huntington Beach.
The South Coast Water District plant pegged for Doheny State Beach would operate differently than the plans for the Poseidon Plant in Huntington Beach, which were shut down by the commission’s rejection in May.
The Dana Point project would utilize several slant wells to “collect seawater from beneath the seafloor to provide source water to the facility,” according to a commission staff report.
The facility would also use a “brine discharge system that would route the facility’s effluent to the South Orange County Wastewater Authority’s nearby wastewater treatment plant,” according to the staff report.
That was a significant departure from the Poseidon project that would dump millions of gallons of salty brine into the ocean. The Poseidon project also featured an intake system that critics said would harm marine life.
By accessing the water underground, the Dana Point project “completely avoids impacts to marine life during facility operations,” according to the staff report. The Dana Point project, which has been in the works for about 18 years, represents a first in the state to use this new underground system, the commission report said.
The Dana Point facility would produce about 5 million gallons of potable water daily with the ability to eventually generate 15 million gallons a day. But an increase in volume would require further review and a larger pipeline, the report said.
The project would take about two years to construct and would interrupt the campgrounds at the beach, but officials are working with the state parks system to provide alternative camping ground access.