San Fernando Regional Park (Photo/SFVS Staff)

The San Fernando Regional Park Infiltration Project is on track to being completed by May of 2023, slightly ahead of its predicted schedule.

In an interview with the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol, Matt Baumgardner — the director of public works for the City of San Fernando — said work on the building and installation of the underground stormwater chambers at  San Fernando Regional Park is almost halfway complete. These chambers will collect stormwater that will be diverted from various areas in San Fernando to infiltrate into the ground system.

The city is also installing a storm drain at Glenoaks Boulevard and Griswold Avenue that will divert rainwater to the park instead of the Pacoima Wash. 

After the chambers are finished, the city will connect the storm drain pipes along the route to the park and install new turf and fences for the baseball field.

The project, which began in April, is being built with the goal of collecting stormwater runoff, removing any impurities and conveying it to an underground system to recharge the San Fernando groundwater basin — which provides water for the City of Los Angeles.

If the basin were to run out of water, the City of LA would resort to taking more water out of the groundwater basin in Sylmar, which it shares with the City of San Fernando. If that were to occur, less water would be available for City of San Fernando residents making it necessary to purchase water from MWD.

Although none of the water in the basin goes to the City of San Fernando, it still benefits from the project as it prevents the nearby Pacoima Wash from flooding during heavy rain.

“Instead of having all this kind of dirty street water going into the [Pacoima] Wash, which eventually makes its way to the ocean, it’s now being infiltrated into the ground, where it can be treated naturally as it works its way down,” Baumgardner said.

As previously reported by the Sun, the project would capture runoff from approximately 70 percent of the City’s area.

Baumgardner anticipates that the installation and the refilling of the park’s baseball field — which was dug up to install the chambers — will be completed by the beginning of January 2023.

While the entire project is currently ahead of its original schedule of June 2023, Baumgardner said weather could delay the project.

“If, all of a sudden, we got hit with heavy storms, that slows construction down, but we haven’t seen that kind of rainy season in a while,” Baumgardner said.

For more information about the project, go to https://ci.san-fernando.ca.us/sf-regional-park-infiltration-project/.

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