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[personal profile] ritaxis
I just got a push poll, the kind where you know exactly who set it up after only a few questions.  It's all about the desalination plant.

I reluctantly have to give them support on this, because the other alternatives are even less promising and more threatening.

Only thing is, since we've been having a striking lack of drought lately, I believe this gfives us time to go slow and address the real problems of the plan -- only addressed by one question in the poll: it's really really hard to protect the bay from the intake and outflow. 

The plan includes a prety good sounding approach to the problem of returnign the brine to the ocean .  The natural byproduct of a desal plant is of course hot, supersaline water.  In theplan as I understand it, they will mix the brine with the treated water from the sewage plant -- which is treated to nearly-drinkable levels (to be drinkable by legal standards it needs more chlorine, which is problematic on a few levels itself) -- and the resulting mixture, no longer hot or supersaturated, is piped out to the outer bay where it will disperse faster anyway, thus having less impact on anything.  I'm comfortable enough with that. And I know theat the plan as it existed a couple years ago involved a bunch of safeguards against sucking little invertebrates and stuff into the works, but I'm just not convinced that we've got that wired, you know?

Economic revocery note:

you could hire a whole cadre of people who used to be fishermen, factory workers, or construction workers, to monitor the health of the bay in conjunction with the desal plant.  This is not a cheap proposition: you'd be paying them skilled worker wages (according to former definitions, at that, I think), and it would "make the water more expensive."  But if the program is paid for by generalized taxes, and put into the category of "economic stimulus" because a cadre of decently-paid skilled workers who are tied by the nature of their work to the community in which they live will spend those decent wages on goods and services all over town.

Date: 2010-11-15 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randwolf.livejournal.com
I'd say the main problem with desalination plants is the energy they use. Desalination is fighting entropy and is therefore an inherently energy-hungry process.

Date: 2010-11-15 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ritaxis.livejournal.com
They're working on a low-consumption method in the pilot project. I forget all the things they're doing to lower the consumption, but one of the things is capturing the heat that would have escaped and using it for [something]. And I'm pretty sure there's a solar component. I went to a workshop with the nice fellow, so that was a few years ago, and I missed the one they had this week.

Date: 2010-11-15 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] del-c.livejournal.com
Have they considered ozone as an alternative to chlorine? It breaks down harmlessly within a short distance of the treatment works, so you just need only a little chlorine to keep it until it gets to the customers.

Date: 2010-11-16 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ritaxis.livejournal.com
It's federal regulations that requires the level of chlorine to be used for tertiary (drinkable) treated waste water. In-house tests indicate that the treatment they use -- which includes UV light, some chlorine and I forget whether there's an ozone component -- actually produces water that meets or exceeds the standards, but the feds require certain procedures regardless of testing results. So they have to call it secondary (clean but not drinkable) if they don't want to use that much chlorine, and since it goes into the Marine Sanctuary, they don't. As I understand it.

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