Construction starts on Santa Cruz pilot desalination plant
Monday, July 23, 2007
(07-23) 05:07 PDT Santa Cruz, Calif. (AP) --
Construction has begun on a pilot desalination plant that could turn ocean water into drinking water by the end of the year.
The city and Soquel Creek Water District are building the $4 million pilot desalination plant at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Long Marine Laboratory.
The 2,400-square-foot test facility is expected to pump 72,000 gallons of sea water a day. If it passes environmental scrutiny, city water officials and the water district may build a $40 million permanent desalination facility.
"I'm hopeful we can demonstrate that desalination will have a less-than-significant impact on the environment," Councilman Ed Porter said Friday. "We need to take some prudent steps to ensure we have an adequate water supply."
The pilot plant should be completed by October and up and running the following month.
The test plant will operate for at least one year to examine details of the energy-intensive reverse osmosis process, impacts on marine life and the resulting water quality.
Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel,