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By Kristina Pritchett

Directors of the South Coast Water District held a workshop with GHD, Inc., an engineering firm, on Tuesday to discuss risks with the potential Doheny Desalination Plant.

According to a report, the project’s specific risks include mainly the slant wells—tubes that run from the on-shore facility, under the beach, to a point in the sea from which to collect water. Concerns for the slant well include structural integrity, long-term viability and water quality.

Mark Donovan with GHD, which is providing engineering services to the Poseidon desalination project in Carlsbad, told the district the company believed the slant well construction issues will have a low probability and that the consequence to the district is low. The mitigation strategy would be to complete the off-shore geophysics work.

“It will help pinpoint where these wells should be drilled and give us more details of how the construction will be moving forward,” Donovan said.

An environmental impact study still needs to be done on the project to assess risk to common detriments posed by desalination, including potential destruction of wildlife habitat, brine discharge and energy consumption.

The next regular scheduled district meeting is Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. in Dana Point City Hall.

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