New Laboratory Opens with Ribbon Cutting at Moorpark Facility

By Debra Tash

Officials cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art facility at the Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Waterworks District 1 wastewater treatment site.  


Holding Scissors, Moorpark Councilmember David Pollock and current Chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Linda Parks

The 5200 square foot building houses a new laboratory, offices and a control center for processing wastewater from nearby Moorpark. It replaces a 40 year old facility.

The project was the brainchild of Reddy Pakala, former Director of Water and Sanitation Services for the County.  Before his retirement in October 2014, Mr. Pakala also oversaw the installation of solar panels which now supply 70 percent of the power on the five acre site. The roof-line of the new building faces south.  The District plans on installing even more panels on top of it now that Southern California Edison upped their program for onsite generation of power rated up to one megawatt to five megawatts.

The site is where the city processes its wastewater.  Effluent is filtered for heavy particulates then pumped into settling ponds where microbes break down the sewage. The water is then sent to cone shaped clarifying pools.  The last of the sludge settles to the bottom of these pools, while clean water floats on top. 


One of the clarifying ponds on site

Eric Kelly, Deputy Director of Operations and Maintenance, informed those touring the site that the District has the lowest ratepayer fee in County for wastewater treatment. Once processed, recycled water is sent through a separate piping system along Los Angeles Ave. then up Grimes Canyon and finally along Championship Drive to where it is used for irrigation at the Moorpark County Club.  The Country Club’s golf course is not only irrigated with reclaimed water it also fills the Country Club’s signature pond and water features.  Plans are in the works to build out the delivery system up through Happy Camp and into the Rustic Canyon Golf Course, which is leased from the County.  Other public areas are also irrigated with reclaimed water.  However, the houses along the system’s route are only plumped for potable water and don’t have separate pipes for the recycled water.


The State-of-the-Art Labortory

Some nearby agricultural operations do take advantage of the reclaimed water to irrigate their citrus groves. Nursery stock and avocados are more sensitive to the higher chlorides in the treated water and if they use it to irrigate they have to mix it with another source.  The water is $860 an acre foot (an acre of water a foot deep) as opposed to imported water which is $1400 an acre foot.

The facility will also serve as an Education Center for public outreach in conservation efforts undertaken by the District.  

The high tech SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) center is onsite and is used by personnel to monitor potable water flow to customers as well as keeping tabs on the effluent coming to the facility from the city.  


One of the Monitoring Screens for SCADA

The building is equipped with dual plumbing.  All the outside landscaping is irrigated with reclaimed water along with what’s used to flush the facility’s toilets.  There are 50 plant species in the garden.  Fruit trees, shrubs and flowers populate the garden, all representing what is grown in Ventura County. 

The project’s construction cost $3.5 million. The wastewater facility runs debt free. 


The newest onsite Facility for District 1 Wastewater Treatment

Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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