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It's Not Easy Being Green

Sanitary District puts extra effort into environmental stewardship.

Riding along the bike trail that runs from Ventura to Ojai you might notice one particularly lush patch of landscaping, consisting of native species. This is the part of the trail that passes by the Ojai Valley Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant. All of the plants are irrigated with reclaimed water as a demonstration of the benefits of good environmental stewardship.

This is just one example of the way the District is taking extra steps to protect the environment. From the initial design of the plant to day-to-day management, the goal is to make the plant a true friend of the environment.

Environmental design

Starting with above-ground fuel storage tanks, every aspect of the District’s wastewater treatment plant was built with environmental impact in mind. The treatment process itself is designed to eliminate ammonia, and reduce phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater effluent. The biosolids recycling program takes the strain off of landfills and provides residents with a free high-quality soil amendment.

Education

The District facilitates visits by students and other groups to demonstrate how an environmentally-friendly plant operates. The District provides educational materials and videos of the collection system and treatment plant operations. Plant management cooperates with universities and private research teams to promote development of improved treatment processes.

Working with homeowners and businesses

While the District is not responsible for private sewer lines and hookups, they offer to inspect lateral connections (pipes from a building to the street) during initial installation to ensure that work and materials meet specifications. The District also checks sewer stoppages to determine if the problem is in a privately owned property lateral or District-owned pipes. The District provides consultation on correcting problems.

Environmentally-friendly construction

When the current wastewater treatment plant was being constructed, over 70% of the demolished plant materials were recycled. The District continues to use environmentally-responsible practices in every construction project. Cured-in-place pipe is a way of repairing aging sewer pipes without trench style excavation. A proactive maintenance schedule keeps over 120 miles of pipeline in good condition, preventing environmental damage.