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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

California's First Desalination Plant in Carlsbad Passes Permitting Process

Poseidon and GE bring desalination plant technology to California

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November, 2007 -- The first of 17 desalination plants proposed for California successfully completed the permitting process by the California Coastal Commission.

The Carlsbad plant is being designed, built, and operated by Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources Inc., a company that specializes in desalination plants and was involved in the early stages of the first large-scale American plant in Tampa. The desalination plant plans must be officially certified by the State Lands Commission.

The plant underwent the state's permitting process in May 2006, and has received opposition from environmental groups, particularly the Surfrider Organization, for its potential effect on the coastal environment. Desalination plants release a saline effluent back into the ocean, which has been deemed by scientists as harmless to the marine environment, but which some still believe could have a detrimental effect on the salinity of coastal waters.

Impending water shortages in around the world have spurred investment for water-related technologies, including desalination. Corporations such as Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and GE (NYSE: GE) have spent millions to license emerging technologies related to desalination.

GE invested in the Carlsbad plant earlier in 2007, where its “ecomagination-certified” ZeeWeed ultrafiltration (UF) technology is expected to be installed. When the Carlsbad plant becomes operational, it will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the world to use UF membranes for pretreatment.

Dow’s FilmTec membranes are currently being employed in the world’s largest desalination plant in Israel, the birthplace of desalination, and the company recently licensed technology for a process that claims to remove the effluent problem from the desalination process by turning the saline solution into gypsum that can be sold to the building industry.

With the California Coastal Commission's approval, the $270 million Carlsbad plant will begin construction in 2008 and to be fully functional by 2010, according to Poseidon Resources.

Poseidon is also moving plans for a Long Beach, Calif., desalination plant through the permitting process.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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