West Basin Municipal Water District has released the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a potential ocean water desalination facility in El Segundo, California. The Final EIR was released following the conclusion of four supplementary ocean water desalination studies and drafting written responses to over 200 questions submitted during an extended 91 day draft EIR review and public comment period that ended on June 25, 2018.
To help ensure water supply reliability for West Basin customers and communities within its service area, the agency developed a goal of achieving a diverse water supply portfolio, as detailed in its 2015 Urban Water Management Plan. For West Basin, water supply reliability can be achieved by: reducing dependence on imported water; increasing water conservation; expanding recycled water production; and developing a locally-controlled, drought-proof water supply.
The potential Ocean Water Desalination Project addressed in the Final EIR would produce approximately 20 million gallons per day (MGD) of drinking water. This would provide a reliable and consistent West Basin water supply during periods of drought, limited water allocations, or water scarcity due to natural disaster.
Since its formation in 1947, West Basin has undertaken a scientific and research-based approach to evaluating water management needs for the service area and implementing innovative water reliability solutions. During the multiple year drought of the 1980s, West Basin became a pioneer in water treatment technology by inaugurating a water recycling facility in 1995 which now purifies 40 MGD of treated sewage and is world renowned for producing five unique types of customer-tailored water.
West Basin continues this innovative water solutions legacy through its partnerships in groundwater replenishment by expanding recycled water production, evaluating new purification technologies, and by building funding partnerships to increase access to water conservation programs for local residents and businesses. Now, as a coastal water agency, West Basin has undertaken its obligation to explore and evaluate a potential new reliable water source. The District is completing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to examine the conversion of ocean water into drinking water with technologies that are environmentally responsible, energy-efficient and cost effective.
The potential desalination project site would be an 8 to 13 acre footprint within an existing 33 acre industrially zoned location within the El Segundo Generating Station site (301 Vista del Mar in the City of El Segundo). Today, the site houses a heavy industrial power generation facility, while the proposed desalination water plant is considered a light industrial facility. The potential desalination facility would include a low velocity, screened intake system to deliver ocean water to the facility, reverse osmosis membrane technology, a brine discharge diffuser system to return concentrated seawater back to the ocean, and a drinking water delivery system to distribute potable water to the local and regional supply systems.
A Draft EIR, published in the spring of 2018, evaluated the possible impacts of constructing and operating the proposed project. The report also identified mitigation strategies to avoid, minimize, or compensate for environmental impacts. During the extended 91 day public comment period, West Basin received 213 comments. The Final EIR which has been released provides detailed responses to each of these comments, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
A digital, searchable version of the Final EIR is available on the West Basin website at westbasindesal.com. Printed copies of the Final EIR are located and available for review during normal business hours at the West Basin Municipal Water District Office (17140 S. Avalon Blvd., Carson, CA 90746) and ten public libraries throughout the West Basin service area. For a complete list of locations, visit westbasindesal.com.
A public Special Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Monday, November 18, 2019 at the Carson Event Center, Community Hall A, located at 801 East Carson Street, Carson, CA 90746. The Special Board of Directors Meeting will begin at 3:00 PM.