The Ventura City Council tonight will consider spending about $175,000 for a study on whether it is possible to pump water from beach sands for a desalination plant the city wants to build.
If the sand contains large amounts of silt, clay and other materials, it will be difficult to draw water, and a pipe or well would be constructed offshore, said Glenn McPherson, project manager.
However, if consultants find that large quantities of water can be drawn from the sand, it will save money because fewer pre-treatment facilities will be needed, McPherson said.
"It would be the preferred way of producing seawater," McPherson said. "It's going to be cleaner. Some of the organisms will be filtered out by the sand."
Pumping water from local beach sands would entail building pipes or wells underground to collect the seawater, McPherson said.
"They wouldn't affect anybody's view," he said. "The visual impact would be minimal, if not nonexistent."
The Ventura-based firm of Staal Gardner & Dunne Inc. would conduct the five-month study.
In an advisory measure in November, Ventura residents voted 55% to 45% in favor of constructing a desalination plant instead of importing water from Northern California.
Environmental studies will begin next year, and the plant is expected to be ready in 1997, McPherson said.