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California Water News

A daily compilation of significant news articles and comment


September 1, 2009



4. Water Quality –




School partners with city to clear trash from Ventura River bottom

Ventura County Star


Plant's generator runs straight through outage

Desert Sun





School partners with city to clear trash from Ventura River bottom

Ventura County Star-9/1/09

By Kevin Clerici  


Wearing blue jeans and armed with gloves and masks, more than 600 freshmen and transfer students from California Lutheran University descended Monday into the Ventura River bottom to remove trash and abandoned items.


The students collected soiled clothes, old food wrappers, rusted bike parts and other trash, some of it discarded by people who sleep illegally among the brush and pervasive poison oak.


“We grabbed a couch, a wheelchair, a musty old rug,” said Clayton Cook, 18, a freshman from Phoenix. “We found the cushions. I said, ‘We should snake these beauties for our dorm.’ We’re trying to have fun with it.”


The student army was part of the private Thousand Oaks university’s You Got Served program, a service project for incoming freshmen now in its fifth year. Last year, for the first time, the entire freshman class tackled the same project: cleaning the river bottom. They pulled out 5 tons of trash and materials last year.


“This is a side of life you don’t see very often,” said Paul Witman, an information systems professor who helped out Monday.


Ventura officials hailed the partnership last year and were more than happy to have the students return. The city is under increasing pressure to remove the trash as new environmental regulations cover the sensitive estuary and excessive pollution could lead to fines of up to $25,000 a day.


“You never want to turn down 600 to 1,200 hours of labor,” said Rosie Ornelas, Ventura’s volunteer coordinator, adding the cleanup will directly reduce the amount of waste washed into the river during rainy winter months. “It’s pretty impressive to see them working in mass.”


Part of CLU’s mission is a commitment to service and justice, said university President Chris Kimball, who along with Ventura Mayor Christy Weir addressed the students before the cleanup.


Kimball said he planned to bring next year’s freshmen back again.


“You learn by doing. You learn by serving others,” said Kimball.


People have relied on the river bottom for shelter since World War II. Although happy to have such a large work force to help with the trash problem, city officials say the underlying challenge — relocating the homeless out of the riverbed — is likely to persist until more housing options are available across the county.


Officials expected little interaction between students and campers because most of the homeless leave during the day.


City officials in recent weeks marked cleanup locations and notified campers of the upcoming effort.


Local garbage hauler E.J. Harrison & Sons agreed to donate large metal containers for the cleanup, which extended from the ocean to nearly a mile upstream, organizers said.


Other sponsors included the Salvation Army, Home Depot, the Water Store, Goodwill Industries and Costco, and donations helped purchase shovels, rakes, gloves and other supplies.


Working as a team, freshmen Chloe Vieira, 18, of Camarillo, Rebecca Michalak, 18, of Seattle and Claire Winters, 17, of Ventura stuffed large plastic bags with tattered clothes and yellowing newspapers.


The trio said they were proud to participate and help build a positive reputation for their college.


“It’s an interesting reality check,” Michalak said.


“We’re glad to be here,” Vieira said. “It feels like we’re making a difference.”#



Plant's generator runs straight through outage

Desert Sun-9/1/09


Officials at Mission Springs Water District report that the Horton Wastewater Treatment Plant “performed without a glitch” despite a 12-hour Southern California Edison power outage on Sunday.


The outage, which started at 4:50 a.m. and was caused by a faulty underground cable, initially affected 1,400 customers, according to Edison spokesman Steve Conroy. Service was restored by 7:01 a.m. to all customers except the water district, he said.


A 21,000-pound backup generator, installed at the plant in 2002, kept the facility running without interruption, according to an MSWD release.


This is the longest the generator has had to run since it was installed, with prior outages having lasted only a few hours, the release stated.#




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