United Water Conservation District (UWCD), local dignitaries and members of the public came together for a ribbon cutting last week to celebrate the opening of a new Iron and Manganese Treatment Plant at the District’s El Rio facility.
The new plant ensures water quality and supply and adds drought resiliency for the estimated 250,000 county residents that rely on the four small mutual water companies serving the El Rio area as well as for the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme and, ultimately, families living on Navy Base Ventura County.
“As with all of the District’s water sustainability projects, collaboration is key,” stated UWCD’s General Manager Mauricio Guardado during the ceremony. “This project, which grew out of UWCD’s annual Water Sustainability Summit, benefitted from the support of the entire community, including U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, U.S. Navy Base Ventura County’s Commanding Officer Captain Robert “Barr” Kimnach III, State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency, and so many others.”
Funding for the project came in part from a $4.2 million grant from the federal Department of Defense’s Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) and another $2.5 million from the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) Prop 1 Integrated Regional Water Management.
The new $10.32 million Iron and Manganese Treatment plant reduces concentrations of iron and manganese in groundwater pumped from deep wells at the El Rio wellfield. It can treat 3,500 gallons per minute and plans for expansion would increase operations to 8,250 gallons per minute.