Feature Illustration: Map of the Inner Harbor Ship Channel. Courtesy: Port of Corpus Christi.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) — A financial assistance application for a $222.5 million seawater desalination plant to be located at the Inner Harbor Ship Channel is on its way to the Texas Water Development Board.
City Council on April 21 instructed the city’s water resource manager to proceed with the low-interest loan. This action came after the TWDB accepted an abridged application that the city sent on Feb. 6. Then on April 9 the TWDB board agreed to prioritize the desalination project.
The deadline for submittal of a complete application is May 11. The proposed Inner Harbor plant is one of several locations where the city has been looking to construct seawater desalination plants.
If approved, it would be distributed in two cycles–$11,425,000 in 2020, and $211,050,000 in 2021.
By submitting the application, the city represents that it’s ready to move forward with the project and issue the debt to secure the loan. If after the application is approved the city decides to not move forward with the project, the city can withdraw the project and any related funding commitments up until the Financing Agreement with the TWBD is executed prior to issuing the debt to secure the loan.
Corpus Christi also submitted permits to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for water discharge permits and water rights on the Inner Harbor Ship Channel and a possible future plant on the La Quinta Channel.
TCEQ is taking public comments on the permit application. The discharge permit on the application for the Inner Harbor facility is expected to be declared administratively complete in the near future.
The plants will use reverse osmosis technology with diffusers at the outfall. Intake of source water and outfall of concentrate will be from the two channels. Dewatered residual solids will be disposed at the city’s regional landfill.
The plants would be designed to allow for future expansion with environmental and operational factors considered in terms of the ultimate size.
Production capacity at the Inner Harbor desalination plant would start at 10 million gallons per day (MGD). With expansions, it would increase by 20 MGD to reach 30 MGD at full capacity.
The La Quinta plant would begin operations at 20M GD and increase production capacity by 30 MGD the reach 40 MGD at full capacity.