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By Breeana Greenberg

The Dana Point Civic Association will host South Coast Water District General Manager Rick Shintaku at its next Friday morning coffee chat on Oct. 21.

During the chat at Coffee Importers at 8:30 a.m., Shintaku will provide an update on the Doheny Ocean Desalination project, which will be presented to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on Thursday, Oct. 13.

The potential desal plant has been proposed as a more reliable water supply. The plant could provide up to five million gallons of water per day using slant wells. Slant wells draw water in from beneath the ocean floor—a safer alternative to open ocean intake, which poses a threat to any marine life that becomes trapped or sucked into intake pipes.

All are welcome to attend and coffee will be complimentary, courtesy of Coffee Importers, located at 34531 Golden Lantern, Dana Point.

CCC staff has recommended a “yes” vote to approve a Coastal Development Permit for the project, which would allow SCWD to construct and operate the seawater desalination plant at Doheny State Beach.

According to the Coastal Commission’s staff report, construction on the proposed desalination plant would require the closure of Doheny State Beach campgrounds for 18 to 24 months. However, SCWD would work with California State Parks to provide additional camping opportunities elsewhere during the closure.

California State Parks plans to conduct campground improvements and modifications at the Campground during the plant’s construction so that the grounds are only closed once for both projects. The campground improvements will include electrical, water and sewer hook-ups to individual campsites, upgrades to restrooms and more.

CCC staff is recommending that SCWD address potential impacts to marine resources and tribal resources through several special conditions.

To address potential marine life and water quality impacts, one special condition would require that SCWD create or restore approximately 7.45 acres of estuarine and/or marine habitats near Doheny.

SCWD would also be required to develop a Spill Prevention and Response Plan for construction and operation, as well as Construction Best Management Practices to protect water quality.

Another special condition would require that SCWD demonstrate the plant can reliably provide water during emergency events such as tsunamis, flooding and earthquakes, and would require a Geotechnical and Seismic Hazards Plan, Disaster Response Plan and Flood Hazard Minimization plan.

SCWD would also be required to prepare a study and identify measures it can implement to reduce the effects of water rates on low-income ratepayers.

The commission’s meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Those interested can view the meeting online through the Coastal Commission’s website or attend in person at the Best Western Island Palms Hotel & Marina at 2051 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego.

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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