Monday, June 18 , 2018, 12:41 pm | Fair 68º

 
 
 
 

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Santa Barbara Spending $2.3 Million to Clean Soil Contamination at Desalination Plant Site

The city of Santa Barbara will spend an extra $2.3 million to clean up soil contamination at the site of the reactivated $55 million desalination plant

The council voted 7-0 to approve the cost increase on Tuesday.

Crews in November found ceramic, glass, bricks and lead in the soil. The soil must be hauled out and the city needs to purchase new soils to backfill.

According to the city, it will cost $1.6 million to handle the soils and another $500,000 to maintain the project on schedule, along with a $200,000 contingency

The council approved the change order for the plant without discussion.

The desalination plant at 525 E. Yanonali St. will produce 3,125 acre-feet of water each year at the starting level, which represents about one-fourth of the city’s current water demand.

Construction crews are working to reactivate the plant that was built in the 1990s and put in standby mode. It should start producing water this fall. 

The desalination plant has the capacity to produce up to 7,500 acre-feet per year, or 10,000 with more construction.

The city is also in talks with the Montecito Water District about partnering up to share the water. 

City leaders also got an update about local water supplies. Gibraltar Reservoir is at 9.7 percent of capacity and Lake Cachuma is just under 15 percent of capacity.

Overall this water year, Gibraltar has seen 5.29 inches of rain, about 56 percent of normal; Lake Cachuma has received 527 inches, about 72 percent of normal; and the city of Santa Barbara has received about 4.93 inches of rain, about 73 percent of normal.

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara residents continue to conserve water. In December, ratepayers reduced water use by 28 percent below the amount used the previous year, city staff said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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