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California Coastal Power Plants to Upgrade Tech to Meet Clean Water Act

Solutions for marine life include water temperature - and SoCal's hunger for power needs a solution other than drawing cool water from the ocean.

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The California Water Board is trying to bring California’s coastal power plants in line with the Clean Water Act, which requires the best available technology to protect aquatic life.

Tough new rules imposed in May, 2010 by the California State Water Board would force 19 coastal power plants to begin phasing out their reliance on ocean-water cooling systems — raising the possibilities of giant towers erected along I-5 to cool the San Onofre nuclear plant in Orange County.

The board agreed to a three-year study of the two nuclear plants involved — San Onofre and Diablo Canyon — to determine whether they should be subject to different requirements.

The three AES power plants in Southern California, including the plant in Huntington Beach, will be refitted with new technology, said Eric Pendergraft, president of AES Southland.

But while large cooling towers are a possibility, the company will also consider newer technology, including “dry cooling,” which does not require towers, or an alternative system that uses smaller towers.

Environmental activist Joe Geever of the Huntington Beach-based Surfrider Foundation, who attended the meeting, said he was happy with the new regulations.

“I think this is enforceable,” he said. “I think that we’re going to see some dramatic changes in the cooling-water technology, and it’s going to result in restoring and saving a lot of marine life.”

Read more at The Orange County Register.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| risk management | water management | marine | biodiversity |

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