Mailbag: H.B. needs to act now against Poseidon

This post has been corrected. See note below.

Last week the Independent featured two articles about water that will have a significant role in shaping the future of our city. Neither article depicted the city as having a part in planning its future. 

On the right side of the front page was the story of Poseidon's plans to build a plant to convert seawater to drinking water. The plans include tearing up miles of city streets to lay pipes to get that water to development interests in south county, and installing a new pipe into the ocean to provide more than 100 million gallons of water each day so they can sell half of it and dump the waste back into the ocean. 

Also on the right side of the page, the Coastal Commission was reported as being determined to protect our coast from a company bent upon making money selling water regardless of consequences to beach goers affected by their plans, and with little concern for the environment.     

On the left side was a story about the State of California's mandate for cities to reduce water consumption by 20% by 2020, which caused the city to consider a tiered billing system with the expectation that by increasing the cost of water it will reduce the demand. 

If ever there was a time for Huntington Beach to enlist all of its resources and expertise to look ahead, it is now. 

The AES plant on Pacific Coast Highway has reached the end of its usefulness. The Poseidon adventure has not yet begun. Now is the time to end the industrialization of Huntington Beach's coast. Now is the time for the people of Huntington Beach to decide what their future will be. It is time citizens demand that their council will not cower when such interests as Poseidon threaten them with a lawsuit if they vote the way their conscience dictates.

John Scott

Huntington Beach


Poseidon is still here, time to go

I am so glad you published that article on Poseidon ("Plant moves closer to hearing," June 20, Huntington Beach Independent). It has saved me telling and writing hundreds of letters and responses to people who can't believe that this incredible boondoggle is still nosing around Huntington Beach.

Yes my friends, it is. When billions of dollars are at stake for the profiteers at Poseidon, you bet they are still here. Even with the closing of the San Onofre Nuclear Power plant, they are still here.

The communities that fell for the pitch in Carlsbad must be reeling with visions of dollar signs in their eyes as the rates for producing this costly water just went through the roof. Yup, the cost for producing the most expensive water on Earth will just go higher. One third of the cost of desal is the energy it takes to pump and produce the water.

Is reclamation, recycling, conservation looking a tad better right now? You bet. It always has. And the cities who, at one time, thought desal might be feasible, are heading for the hills. Only three of the original 19 cities who signed letters of intent remain "intending."

And as these districts and cities finally catch on that the producers of "reliable" water are building in a tsunami run-up zone on an earthquake fault line, in an area subject to sea level rise, might just be thinking that the only really "reliable" water is right here in our own backyard. Fountain Valley to be precise.

The Groundwater Replenishment System. Even — dare I say it — conservation. When it comes to depending on someone to furnish water, the ratepayers better look only to themselves and at public agencies. A private company selling treated ocean water back to the public? Doesn't hold water does it?

Merle Moshiri

President, Residents for Responsible Desalination

Huntington Beach


Price of desalination is too high

I've been following the progress of Poseidon's desalination plant for years.

I was curious to see how the Tampa Bay desalination plant, a previous project of Poseidon's, was doing. As you may recall, due to construction cost overruns and an inability to bring the plant on line, Tampa Bay Water eventually took over operation.

As reported on, Tampa Bay Water says it costs four times as much to turn water from Tampa Bay into drinking water as it does to pump water out of the ground.

"In these economic times, every penny counts," Tampa Bay Water Operations Director Chuck Carden was quoted as saying. "If we have less expensive sources to use, why wouldn't we use them?"

Three cities and agencies have approved moving forward with the plant in Huntington Beach; the other 14 would be wise to consider the cost of building a plant that may sit idle because it's too expensive to use desalinated water.

Lynda A. Hernandez

Huntington Beach


Desalination is a loser in Huntington Beach

Re:  "Plant moves closer to hearing," June 20, Huntington Beach Independent.

The only thing I hope the Poseidon Desalination Plant moves closer to is the dumpster. 

In my neck of the woods (southeast Huntington Beach), there is scant proof of interest to be had, especially since the project would rip up four miles of our streets (causing months of disruption and negative impacts) with no guarantee that this boondoggle would ever deliver on its promises. 

This company will never pencil its product out unless massive subsidies or bailouts are involved that will inflate the water rates of everyone in the region.

The massive energy costs involved will never make desal water a winner for this part of the county. None of us can or should pretend otherwise. Beware, beware.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

[For the record: 10:30 a.m. July 1: In the first letter's last paragraph, the author was referring to the AES plant in Huntington beach, not the San Onofre nuclear plant.]

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