Marin Will Turn Sea Water into Tap Water

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Poseidon's project output is 10% of region's daily water needs

    Looking to get close to nature? Head up to Marin, where someday soon the drinking water might've recently been home to marine life.

    Voters this week approved the next phase of a plan to build a desalination plant in the north bay. That would turn sea water into up to 15 million gallons of tap water every day. The plant is expected to cost $100 million to build.

    A thorough filtering and desalination process would remove impurities, chemicals, and biological matter. Those undesirable components would wind up in a landfill, while the finished water would be clean and potable.

    Controversy has erupted over San Francisco's plan to expand its landfill operations, potentially encroaching on populated areas. So far, there have been no major objections to generating landfill material in Marin. It is unclear exactly how much waste would be produced.

    Another sticking point: high energy usage. Although Marin's energy usage is typically below the average, this new plant would buck the city's ecological trend by ramping up 77 million kwh during droughts.

    The plant still isn't a sure thing. When voters passed Measure S, they sent a clear signal that they want to vote on future progress. That measure allows planning for the plant to move forward, but any construction much be preceded by another vote.

    Measure S was competing with Measure T, which would have required even more voter approval before any planning could go forward.