Public hearing scheduled for Corpus Christi Polymers' proposed desalination permit
State environmental regulators will hold a public hearing this month on whether to renew a wastewater discharge permit for Corpus Christi Polymers' proposed marine desalination facility on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Holiday Inn Corpus Christi Airport & Convention Center, 5549 Leopard St., in Corpus Christi, according to a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notice. The public hearing was requested by state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown.
The hearing comes as five different sites near Corpus Christi Bay are being considered for the costly desalination facilities. In addition to CCP's site, the Port of Corpus Christi and the city of Corpus Christi are eyeing two different locations, each. All of the sites are contending to be the first marine desalination facility of this scope and size in Texas.
If permitted, the CCP desalination plant could discharge up to 38.5 million gallons of "treated industrial wastewater" into the channel per day, TCEQ spokesperson Gary Rasp wrote in a statement to the Caller-Times.
Environmental advocates have raised concerns about the potential environmental impact of discharging salty brine — a byproduct of desalination — into local waters. City and port leaders, conversely, widely support desalination but disagree on which is the best location and which entity should operate it.
Last fall, CCP announced it would restart construction on its incomplete Joe Fulton International Trade Corridor plant, which it purchased from M&G USA Corp. after the corporation filed for bankruptcy. Then, CCP projected an early 2025 commission date.
A spokesperson for Corpus Christi Polymers did not respond to inquiries about the construction status of its proposed desalination facility.
TCEQ issued a water rights permit and a wastewater permit — the two permits needed to operate a desalination facility — to M&G USA Corp. in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The Feb. 23 meeting will conclude a public comment period to submit feedback for consideration on whether to renew the wastewater permit.
After the close of the public comment period, the office of the TCEQ executive director will prepare written responses to all comments regarding the permit. Respondents will then have a 30-day window to request reconsideration or a contested case hearing on the permit.
Requests for a contested case hearing will be considered by the TCEQ commissioners. If any of the commissioners grant a hearing, the application would be referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings to be considered, which is like a civil trial. The state office's recommendations would then go back to the TCEQ commissioners to be considered.
The plant will be capable of producing between 1.1 million and 1.3 million metric tons of purified terephthalic acid, known as PTA, and polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. PET is a form of polymer used in the production of plastic bottles or containers for food packaging and beverages, and PTA can be used to make polyester fibers for clothing, bed sheets, curtains and bedspreads.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Public hearing set for Corpus Christi plant's proposed desalination permit