Revocation of Santa Paula Waste Plant Permit Marks Victory for Community Safety

Santa Paula, California – Residents of Santa Paula, California, can finally breathe a sigh of relief after almost a decade of fear and uncertainty. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors made a decisive vote on March 26 that brought closure to a chapter of the city’s history marred by a catastrophic incident.

In the early hours of November 18, 2014, a tragic event unfolded at the now-defunct Santa Clara Waste Water Co. plant, located in an industrial area just southwest of the city limits. A mishap involving a vacuum truck loaded with chemicals led to a devastating explosion that sent a three-mile-long plume of toxic smoke into the air. The aftermath resulted in mass evacuations, hospitalizations, and severe injuries to both residents and first responders.

Following the incident, a series of legal battles ensued, culminating in guilty pleas and substantial fines levied against those responsible for the disaster. Concerns lingered in the community, with the threat of a potential reoccurrence looming until just last July when the previous property owners withdrew a permit application to reopen the facility.

The recent decision by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to unanimously revoke the facility’s conditional use permit marks the end of an era filled with trauma and uncertainty for Santa Paula. Community members, including Santa Paula Mayor Leslie Cornejo, have expressed their collective relief and gratitude for the resolution of this long-standing issue.

Notably, a new owner has acquired the site and is committed to clearing the property of its past uses, offering a glimmer of hope for the community’s future. The new owner, Tim Finnigan, has assured authorities that he has no intentions of reestablishing any waste processing operations on the property, signaling a fresh start for the area.

As Santa Paula looks towards healing and rebuilding, the sentiments of resilience and perseverance expressed by its residents resonate strongly. The closure of this chapter serves as a testament to the community’s unwavering spirit and commitment to safeguarding the well-being of its residents and environment.