Santa Paula: Two Major Upgrades to Wastewater Plant Approved


By Sheryl Hamlin

History of Plant Spills


The Santa Paula wastewater plant has incurred two spills, one in 2015 shortly after the City purchased the plant and one in 2018.

In 2017, Santa Paula upgraded the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system in a project approved at $204,057. Read about that overview and detail item G in Consent Calendar. As with many approved items, there was not a report as to completion of the project.

In 2018, the City prepared a plan for Spill Mitigation at the plant for a cost of $350,000. Details of this are here in item 16. Subsequently a reduced idea was proposed. The status was not reported.

Instrumentation and Controls Upgrade 2020

In 2019, the City engaged TESCO Controls for an audit of the SCADA system. This report has only been made available in summary form in the staff report for the March 18, 2020 council meeting.

Public Works Director Saunier indicated that there is a two phase plan, the first of which is presented in the 3/18/2020 request with an estimate of $410,000. The second phase was not described except that it could equal the first in cost.

Questions were submitted via email due to the recent Covid-19 isolation guidelines. The question submitted by this author was the following:


The staff report says the proposal includes “ ….single Wonderware Galaxy (SCA-1A)…. “

Does the proposal include an implementation of the fall-over configuration as well as redundant hardware?

Does the Wonderware fall-over system configuration include resuming computation to a hot backup system, where state is constantly maintained, in the event of a failure (maintaining state, of course).

After the expensive spill caused by the SCADA computer failure, precautions are imperative.

Unfortunately, the City Clerk confused the subimtted question with another item so the above noted question was not read. However, Council Member Crosswhite asked the Public Works director about backup to which the Public Works director said there was “redundancy across all systems”.

With the staff report recommending “a single Wonderware Galaxy”, this would raise questions about how much redundancy is possible with a single of anything.

The video explains how the Wonderware system uses hardware redundancy with software messaging between systems, so that in the event of a failure, the other system takes over. The Director did not elaborate if this would be the configuration Short Wonderware Video

RFP for this Item

The city’s new website includes a section on RFP’s. Click here to see if/when the RFP for this is issued.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) for Waste Water Plant

The council had previously studied various options for chloride reduction in the wastewater plant. Read that Study Session report here.

During the March 18, 2020, the council revisited the Study Session highlights via a Skype presentation by Eileen Shield, Principle Engineer of MKN Associated.

MKN presented a contract to write the RFP, while Rincon Associated presented a proposal to prepare the CEQA report. There was some confusion, however, because these items were in the Consent Calendar prior to approval of the actual RO item, which fell later In the agenda

The Public Works Director stressed that there is no plan in place as yet for the $13 million capital expenditure of this option; however Council Member Crosswhite stated that since this is now a project for the benefit of the entire city rather than a single-user (Limoneira), there should be more options for grants/loans.

The estimated annual costs are $1.3 million but could be offset by selling the water either to South Mountain or to UWCD for use in their spreading ponds. See presentation link from recent UWCD meeting attended by Council Member Juarez.

The City Clerk read the following statment from this author: Hamlin_RO_statement_03182020

To watch the video and/or download the staff reports, click here or here for video.

To learn more about the author, click sherylhamlin dot com


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