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Port moving forward with Harbor Island desal plans

Posted at 9:23 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 23:51:08-04

The Port of Corpus Christi says it’s moving forward in the permitting process for a desalination plant on Harbor Island with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

If built, the would be directly across the ship channel from Port Aransas.

In January, the City of Corpus Christi announced it was looking at sites on the ship channel in the Inner Harbor, and at La Quinta in San Patricio County.  Many thought that was the end of desal on Harbor Island, but that’s not the case.

“We’ve been working on this permit now for some time,” said Sarah Garza, Director of Environmental Compliance & Planning with the Port of Corpus Christi.

That means the Port isn’t giving up on a desalination plant for Harbor Island.

“We had already received that draft permit, we already engaged multiple agencies and stakeholders in that process,” said Garza.

The TCEQ granted the port a draft discharge permit in October, three months before the city ruled Harbor Island out of its desal plans.

“We felt that it was important to continue that process all the way through to the end especially since we are so close to the end,” said Garza.

The Port is already so far into the permitting process, officials say it only makes sense to continue.  While the city isn’t interested in building a desal plant here, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t be.

“There is a possibility that third parties will come out and still want to put in a desal plant, and go through the permitting process,” said Garza.

Garza says the Port has heard from third parties interested in pursuing desal, either on Harbor Island or somewhere else.  Meanwhile, Port officials still work closely with city staff, meeting every two weeks, specifically about desal.

“We continue to work with them, we are involved in their process with Freese and Nichols,” said Garza.  “We consult on the process and provide them information.”

The Port isn’t looking to build a desalination plant, but to merely hand over a permit package to an interested party.  The TCEQ is holding a public hearing on the Port’s Harbor island permit April 8th at the Port Aransas Civic Center.