California Coastal Commission OKs desalination plant in Orange County
Posted June 3, 2016 by Martin Armstrong-Burns
California’s coastal waters are becoming increasingly saline as the drought continues to exacerbate water scarcity.
This year, the California Coastal Commission approved a new wastewater treatment plant to treat sewage in Laguna Beach, Calif., for the city’s first treatment plant to separate sewage in Orange County, which has the greatest water needs of any county in the state, according to the Orange County Register. After construction, the plant should be able to meet the needs of about 8,000 people in the city, said Steve Maviglio, manager of the Orange County Department of Environmental Services. Maviglio said the commission approved the plant on June 1. He said it will save at least $100,000 in annual electric costs.
Maviglio said the plant will “help us solve for wastewater capacity for our wastewater treatment facilities.”
The plant will treat the wastewater from the city’s wastewater treatment plant at Laguna Beach, and then send the wastewater to a waste water treatment plant. The waste water treatment plant uses technology, including reverse osmosis, to get rid of the salt.
The sewage plant will be used by Orange County for the first time this year, but it’s also part of the city’s 10th wastewater treatment plan. The city has been able to meet its water needs but not to the full extent of its needs, but the new plant would have helped, Maviglio said.
“The plant is more of a catalyst. It is helping us get to the full extent of our needs,” he said. The waste water treatment plant will treat the wastewater, which will go to a lagoon. A secondary sewage treatment plant — a wastewater treatment plant — will send the treated wastewater to the ocean, where it is purified.
Orange County is also taking a new approach to its water supply, treating its wastewater water at one of the plants that uses chemical processes rather than biological processes, Maviglio said.
“It will cost a few more millions of dollars to take the full advantage of this plant,” he said. But the plant “will cost us between $2 million and $3 million” after it’s operational in 2017.