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Private firm wants to build desalination plant on Harbor Island

Posted at 7:19 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 01:24:45-04

PORT ARANSAS – The desalination debate rages again, and as public officials work to bring desal to the Coastal Bend, a private firm believes its plan is best.

“In our opinion, this was the optimal site for both economics and minimal impact on the ecosystem,” said Douglas Brown, CEO of Seven Seas Water.

Seven Seas spent four years searching for the right spot to build its desal plant.  That search led them to Harbor Island, a place the company decided was its best option.

The Port of Corpus Christi is already looking into a desal plant on Harbor Island, but the Seven Seas proposal would use land leased from the Ed Rachal Foundation.

Seven Seas scientists have been on the property for months.

“From what we’ve seen this is a great property, we’re happy with it,” said Tom Williams, senior manager for the project. “We’re going to move on, take a few more steps, and get closer to the permitting phase of the project.”

That permitting process will likely take more than a year, plenty of time to convince city officials their plan is best.

Seven Seas also wants to win over skeptics, and is working with scientists from The University of Texas’ Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, as well as Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute to prove its  plan won’t harm the local ecosystem.

“There are issues here that we may not be sensitive to that they are,” Brown said. “We’re committed to working those local teams to evaluate the feasibility.”

Opponents of a desal plant on Harbor Island want an offshore facility.  Barring that, they want a Harbor Island plant in such a way that it doesn’t take water in from the ship channel, or dump brine into the channel waters.  Seven Seas officials say neither of those options are economically feasible.

A view from the site of a proposed desalination plant by private firm Seven Seas Water
A view from the site of a proposed desalination plant by private firm Seven Seas Water