Oxnard City Council grants $250,000 towards fixing the water’s low-oxygen levels, but a long-term solution is still in the works.
OXNARD — Channel Islands residents, this past summer, were shocked to find water in the harbor had turned a cloudy brown color and gave off a foul odor. Marine animals were also affected with some deaths and others struggling to survive.
Recent funds granted to address the water quality at Channel Islands’ Kiddie Beach appears to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solving this issue.
The source of the problem was theorized to have happened after NRG Energy’s Mandalay Generating Station was shutdown, which cause pumps in the canal to cease circulating water. Low oxygen levels contributed to the water quality issues that Channel Island Harbor experienced earlier in the year.
In a release issued by city of Oxnard on Aug. 23, it stated: “The city of Oxnard Channel Islands Response Team is monitoring the dissolved oxygen concentrations (and other paraments) at multiple locations along the Channel Islands Harbor on a weekly basis. Additionally, on August 6, the City deployed an automated remote sensor in the upper canal between Westport and Seabridge (parallel to Adriatic Street), continually monitoring the water at the site of the sensor to provide 24/7 coverage.”
Oxnard’s City Council, at its Oct. 2 meeting, approved $250,000 to correct the water issue. In an interview with Ventura County Star, Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen stated the funding amount would not be nearly enough to address the water problem.
Nguyen stated: “It’s absolutely not enough for a problem of this scale. I believe that was decided based on keeping water moving in front of Kiddie Beach that never materialized. That was not intended for the entire harbor. You’re looking at the idea of moving water on a massive scale. The vaults they installed and that amount of money, it’s the difference between having a pump for an aquarium versus for a large lake. It’s not even apples and oranges, it’s worse.”
When further pressed on how the problem would be paid for, Nguyen said, “I think it’s going to have to be a combination [between community facilities district and the general fund].”
Nguyen continued: “First of all, we have to go through the necessary steps to really determine the problem. A few things I’ve learned thus far, all of these manmade harbors have this problem … As far as I’m aware, in none of those situations has the solution been to build a power plant and I say that in jest but even the pumps. I understand that people feel panicked about this, the people who live there, they believe that’s the solution. I am not convinced that that should be our first option. I have to remain open to the fact that it may be our extreme last resort.”
While the water quality does have low oxygen levels, the city of Oxnard has deemed the water is safe to swim in after test results were confirmed.
The Log contacted Mark Sandoval, director of Channel Islands Harbor, and Channel Islands Harbor Patrol for further comment. However, both sources could not be reached by the time of print.
Sandoval was named the new director in July. On his first day, he told The Log the issue with water quality in Channel Islands Harbor was a top priority to be addressed.
The Log will update this report online if any further information becomes available.
Visit City of Oxnard’s official website at oxnard.org to find the latest updates about the water quality and access FAQs.
Photo: Ventura County