The newest source of drinking water in our county just reached a major milestone.
Around 100 million gallons of seawater are pumped through the filters at the Carlsbad desalination plant every day. Within about three hours that water is purified and sent to the taps.
After three strong years, the plant just produced its 40 billionth gallon of drinking water. That's enough water to fill a billion bathtubs, or fill every floor of the empire state building, 145 times.
“We have a ticker in the control room that just spins away as gallons of water go out the door,” said Jessica Jones, a spokesperson for Poseidon, the company that operates the plant.
Jones says the thought of producing a new water supply is exciting, and says this supply won’t run out if the state experiences another drought.
Not everyone is lining the plant's parade route. Environmental groups like San Diego Coastkeeper and the Surfrider Foundation have opposed the plant from the beginning. A Coastkeeper spokesman told NBC 7 the plant uses too much energy and the county should rely on water conservation and wastewater recycling.
A Surfrider spokeswoman says the plant has also been hit with numerous toxicity violations.
“You have bugs that you work out,” Jones said. “So, we've gotten through that and improved our technology.
Jones adds the plant is the first major infrastructure project in California to eliminate its carbon footprint.
Poseidon says it expects to break ground on another plant in Huntington Beach in the next year.