City Council Approves Study to Develop Desalination Test Plant

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, members officially accepted a federal grant and approved spending over $1 million in city funds for a desalination plant pilot study.

The study will help determine how and where would be best for building a test plant and also to search for state and federal grants to assist with such construction. It will also help determine the most efficient way to process saltwater, what to do with the leftover brine water and how to store, possibly underground, drinkable and non-drinkable processed water.

Council members compared desalination to the original arguments against the Mary Rhodes Pipeline.

"I think that we proved to ourselves the value of making sure that we have our next, or our next after next, water source prepped and ready to go as much as possible before we need it," Councilman David Loeb said.

"That we're bullish on desal, we're racing ahead of the pack, we're committed to getting this study done," Councilman Mark Scott said. "So we know what it's going to cost and where we should build it."

Gus Gonzalez, Assistant City Manager for Public Works and Utilities, said the study will take up to two years to complete. He added that, once the study is done, staff will ask City Council for funding to purchase equipment and begin construction of the test plant.


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