Long-awaited Oxnard water purification facility begins operations

by Chris O’Neal

Four years have passed since the completion of Oxnard’s Advance Wastewater Purification Facility, and now it’s finally being put to use.

Permitting conflicts, logistical challenges and cost kept the Perkins Road plant from operations in spite of the need, as area farmers battled ongoing drought. In early March, the facility began pumping out purified water to farmers east of the city limits, making use of borrowed pipeline to fill reservoirs in Camarillo.

Now, around 3 million gallons of water a day are being pumped to farms in Camarillo, which will increase to 4 to 5 million a day in coming weeks.

At a press conference on Friday, March 18, State Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, along with Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn, Public Works Director Daniel Rydberg and city councilmembers, among others, joined farmers and water agencies to announce the $71.8 million facility’s activation on site in Oxnard.

Irwin is credited with resolving the bureaucratic stalemate, having stepped in when her office heard that the project was in the muck. Irwin told attendees at the gathering that she summoned a top water official and ironed things out.

Pleasant Valley County Water District attorney John Matthews praised both Irwin and General Manager Susan Mulligan of the Calleguas Municipal Water District that owns the pipeline now being borrowed by Oxnard, until a permanent system is created. Matthews referred to the women as “angels” in his speech.