Cambria board calls special meeting to approve desal testing

The Cambria Community Services District board is expected to give the go-ahead to a study related to a proposed desalination plant at a special meeting Tuesday, and approve a notice that says the tests will not have a significant environmental impact.

The finding will be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission, possibly at its mid-February meeting.

Tests are needed to determine if seawater could be taken in underneath the beach south of the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek, near Shamel Park in Cambria. Beach wells are considered environmentally preferable to open pipelines as a water source.

The water would be piped to a desalination plant elsewhere.

The testing would involve the drilling of core samples and digging of test wells.

Installation is expected to take less than two weeks. Wells would be buried under beach sand.

In 2007, the Coastal Commission turned back a district request to perform similar tests near the San Simeon Creek mouth, saying that location should only be considered as a last resort.

The Santa Rosa Creek site’s advantages include: Absence of nesting habitat for the Western snowy plover, an endangered species; marine mammals do not come onto the beach there; an emergency vehicle access ramp is already in place; and it is not visible from Highway 1.

Consideration of the item is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.

Notice of the meeting was issued shortly after noon Monday.

An agenda packet is available at http://bit.ly/ccsddesal0105.