A $350-million seawater desalination plant that could provide Orange County with 50 million gallons of fresh water a day is just one permit away from beginning construction in Huntington Beach.
Poseidon Resources received approval Friday from the State Lands Commission at a public hearing in Culver City to move forward with the Huntington Beach seawater desalination project, officials said.
The commission approved a lease amendment allowing Poseidon to use the Huntington Beach Generating Station's existing offshore seawater intake and discharge facilities, which run under Huntington State Beach.
The project must now get a Coastal Development Permit from the California Coastal Commission, officials said.
The plant would be built in the southeast portion of town at Newland Street and Edison Avenue.
Once the plant is operational, which is expected to happen in 2014, Huntington Beach and surrounding cities would be able to purchase the water, reducing Orange County's reliance on imported water and giving the county a drought-proof water supply, project proponents said.
The plant, though, has been the cause of controversy over fears that it will damage sea life and be a source of noise pollution.