The Coast News Group

Desal pipeline construction delayed

CARLSBAD — Construction of the pipeline that will connect Carlsbad desalination plant to the San Diego County Water Authority’s aqueduct connection facility has been postponed due to production, design and permit delays. 

Yet authorities are hopeful that the pipeline will still be completed on time.

Construction of the 10-mile pipeline from the Carlsbad plant to the Water Authority facility in San Marcos was supposed to begin in Carlsbad in late June at the intersection of Cannon Road and Avenida Encinitas.

However, construction crews have yet to break ground on the site while waiting for a final permit from Caltrans, the state transportation agency, Poseidon Senior Vice President of Project Development Peter McLaggan told city council during a project update on July 9.

McLaggan assured the Council that the permit is expected to come through at any time and construction could commence as early as July 15.

Construction on the pipeline has already started in San Marcos, but the project was slowed down due to a delay in production of the pipeline, according to San Diego County Water Authority Deputy General Manager Frank Belock. Now that the pipeline production has been moved to a different plant, he said that the interruption should not affect pipeline placement in Carlsbad.

He also said that project planners are developing an alternative to hanging the pipeline from the bridge on Cannon Road near Faraday Avenue, which could require a permit from the Coastal Commission in the near future. The matter will hopefully be decided and permitted by the end of the year.

McLaggan and Belock said that they believe the pipeline construction will still be able to meet its December 2014 deadline.

Poseidon has reached out to all of the businesses in Carlsbad that will be affected by the pipeline placement to discuss traffic control and driveway access plans to minimize disruptions to operations, according to McLaggan.

In the meantime, construction of the desalination plant next to the Encina Power Station is underway. So far, a water tank has been demolished, a building foundation is being constructed and a portion of a seawater feed pipeline has been laid at the plant’s site.