Santa Paula | City Chooses Ventura Regional Sanitation District for Wastewater Collection

By Sheryl Hamlin

While the Santa Paula wastewater plant (now called Water Recycling Facility) has been in the news for the last six years, the city’s wastewater collection system has grown and served the city since 1930.

From the staff report of March 20, 2019, background for the collection of wastewater in Santa Paula describes the large infrastructure:

The Wastewater Collection System is managed, maintained and operated by a separate contract from the Water Recycling Facility, which the city now owns. American Water had been the contractor for the collection system since 2014. In 2015, the city awarded the contract for the management of the WRF to American Water. In 2018 American Water sold its contracts for both the collections and the maintenance of the plant to Veolia. Veolia is managing the plant currently, but could not come to an agreement with the city for the collections system. As an interim solution, the VRSD is managing the collection system. The item for consideration as a multi-year contract with VRSD to manage the collection system.

QBS (Qualification Based Selection)

Three companies responded to the RFP. VRSD was chosen for the following reasons noted in the staff report:

1. Number of operations and support staff within the County of Ventura.
2. VRSD has existing Staff who live & work within the City of Santa Paula.
3. They will stage locally with fleet and equipment.
4. Overall quality and focus of interview presentation.
5. Good performance history and service record previously with the City of Santa Paula.
6. Extensive knowledge of the City’s system from previous contracting experience with the City.
7. Proposed response time to emergency callouts of 30 minutes or less.
8. Would assist Staff by establishing CIP list for the collection system.
Additionally, VRSD will conduct manhole rehabilitation, conduct more storm drain inspections and cleanings than the previous opeator and take over the City’s Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP) which includes sampling the material sent to the WRF via the collection system.


The year one costs is $325,688, Year 2 is $361,612, Year 3 is $368,845 and Year 4 is $376,222.

Note that the costs above are base costs. Individual projects will be billed as they occur.

Systems Covered

Not only is the wastewater collection system covered by the contract, but the separate storm water system will also be included.

The following image is from the organization Save Our Bay, but it is a good conceptual explanation of the systems. Note the mention of the stormwater system in the article. Santa Paula’s stormwater system drains to the river.

Source: Save Our Bay


Scope of Services

The contract includes two pump stations: Lemonwood and Harding Park. 316,800 feet of gravity sanitary sewer lines, .5 miles of force mainlines and 1190 manholes in service on the effective date of the agreement. Twice a year, the lift pump stations will be calibrated, per the contract.

The contract says that “Laterals are excluded”. Presumably this refers to the portion of the lateral on private property, There is a portion of each lateral under the public street and sidewalk as shown in the image.

The contract calls for 24 hour seven day a week service because of the critical nature of the infrastructure.

VRSD will manage the city’s Grease Trap Inspections for Food and Grocery establishments as wells as the Industrial Pretreatment Program for those commercial businesses using the wastewater collection system.

Closed Circuit TV and Other Technology

The contractor (VRSD) will be required to use CCTV for the required inspections. All video inspections will be saved on DVD along with monthly reports and accounting results. A database will be created, so that VRSD and the city can identify repeat problem areas.

Capital Improvement Program

VRSD will provide a list of maintenance for the Capital Improvement Program.

Major Inspections

The VRSD will notify the city of blockages or severe pipeline deterioration, make recommendations for repairs or replacement of deteriorating pipelines and submit video reports to the city. 79,200 lineal feet of pipeline are to be inspected annually. The contract delineates between blockages on city pipes versus private pipes.

The inspections will also include testing for sagging pipelines. When the pipelines are constructed, there is a grade, but over time, they may sag causing material to collect. Read about sag repair here.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows

The Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) is a very serious problem because it can affect ground water. Read about SSO here.

According to the contract, VRSD “must use its best reasonable efforts to prevent SSOs from entering the City’s municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).

Sewage and wastewater pollution are worldwide issues now. Read about some issues here.

Cockroaches and Smells

Odor monitoring in the system and the lift stations will be performed as well as cockroach abatement.


The item passed with no council discussion because it was on the Consent Calendar. Note that Council Member Araiza is the council liaison to the VRSD.

To watch the video, click here.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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2 Responses to Santa Paula | City Chooses Ventura Regional Sanitation District for Wastewater Collection

  1. Lisa M Garcia March 29, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you Sheryl!! You are the best!
    Lisa M Garcia

  2. Sheryl Hamlin March 29, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    8 questions sent to Public Works Director about this contract and functions of contractor on Tue, Mar 26, 6:49 PM . With additional information there could be a follow-on report on this important topic.


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