Los Angeles Waterkeeper Applauds City of Manhattan Beach’s Vote to Oppose Desalination

Organization says better option is to purify wastewater at the Hyperion facility

LOS ANGELES, February 17, 2016 — Last night, the Manhattan Beach City Council unanimously approved its letter of opposition to the West Basin Desalination Project, proposed by the West Basin Municipal Water District. Los Angeles Waterkeeper, an organization that protects and promotes clean water in Los Angeles County, commends the vote and encourages other city councils to follow suit.

At last night’s meeting, Los Angeles Waterkeeper along with representatives from Surfrider Foundation, South Bay Chapter and Heal the Bay joined concerned residents in speaking against the plant because it will harm the local environment and economy. After hearing comments, all five councilmembers spoke in opposition of the desalination plant, noting in their official letter to West Basin Municipal Water District that a better investment option is a state-of-the-art recycling facility that would purify wastewater currently dumped into Santa Monica Bay.

The West Basin Municipal Water District is proposing a 20 – 60 million-gallon-per-day desalination plant. The plant proposal looks to use open ocean intakes — known for entrapping and killing millions of fish and marine life per year — and is estimated to cost $1,600-$1,900 per acre-foot, which is significantly more expensive than the water West Basin currently imports.

“Ocean desalination is costlier than imported water and environmental water alternatives, like conservation, rainwater capture and wastewater reclamation,” says Bruce Reznik, Los Angeles Waterkeeper executive director. “Ocean desalination is also the most energy-intensive strategy to enhance local water supplies, meaning it will contribute to climate change that is impacting our region, particularly coastal communities like Manhattan Beach.”

The proposed desalination plant would be located next to the region’s largest sewage plant, The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. West Basin already works to reclaim some of that water to augment local supplies.

“Why wouldn’t we just expand the amount of Hyperion’s wastewater that is captured, treated and reclaimed before it empties in Santa Monica Bay?” says Reznik. “This would take less energy, reduce water pollution to our coastal waters, help recharge our groundwater with high quality distilled water and keep water rates more affordable for our residents.”

Hermosa Beach City Council is next to vote on signing onto the letter of opposition at its March 2 meeting. Los Angeles Waterkeeper is encouraging local residents to attend the meeting and voice their opinion on the issue.

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Founded in 1993, Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay and adjacent waters through enforcement, fieldwork, and community action.

 

 

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