Carlsbad Desalination Plant Maintains Safe Operations, Monitors Orange County Oil Spill

October 06, 2021

Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority issued the following joint statement in response to the recent oil spill off the coast of Orange County:

“The oil spill has not affected the operations of the Claude ‘Bud’ Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The facility is San Diego County’s largest single source of locally produced drinking water, generating nearly 80 billion gallons of drought-proof water since operations started in December 2015. 

“Water quality in Carlsbad’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon – the desalination plant’s intake source – is continually monitored for more than a half-dozen seawater parameters, including oil-in-water concentration. Per State of California requirements in the facility’s drinking water permit, the desalination plant will shut down if the hydrocarbon concentration of source seawater reaches 300 parts per billion. While there has been no indication of oil from Orange County reaching Carlsbad, the facility’s operating team will continue to closely monitor intake water quality.

“In addition, Poseidon Water and the Water Authority are working with local, state, and federal agencies to assess potential preemptive actions in case conditions change, including installation of a floating boom at the mouth of the lagoon. That would protect the lagoon for marine life and ensure the desalination plant can stay online, which minimizes the San Diego region’s demands on other water resources.”

  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

    Media Contact Information

    Grace Sevilla

    Phone: (619) 855-5135


  • Poseidon Water is a private company that partners with public agencies to deliver water infrastructure projects. The company’s primary focus is developing large-scale reverse osmosis seawater desalination plants implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon’s Carlsbad Desalination Plant, visit the plant website at For more information on Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desalination plant, visit the project website at

    Media Contact Information

    Scott Maloni | Poseidon Water
    Phone: (858) 663-8838