Water Authority Ends Research on Camp Pendleton Desal Plant
The Water Authority in September ended work on a potential seawater desalination plant at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton due to extraordinary permitting hurdles and related costs created by the State Lands Commission staff, along with the decreased potential that the plant will be needed in coming decades.
For three years, the Water Authority worked to design and permit a small-scale pilot facility to assess seawater intake and treatment technologies at Camp Pendleton, with grant funding from state and federal agencies. The resulting study would have been the first in California to investigate an innovative subsurface intake technology for ocean water.
However, the State Lands Commission insisted that the Water Authority go above and beyond statutory and regulatory permitting requirements, adding a projected $626,000 to the pilot project cost and making it financially infeasible. The proposed pilot project would have compared the pretreatment requirements of seawater through both open ocean and subsurface intakes, providing valuable data statewide.