After more than a year of construction and several delays, San Fernando Recreation Park is expected to reopen to the public next month as the infiltration project built to capture runoff water nears completion.
The SCADA — Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, a computer-based system for monitoring and controlling field devices at remote sites — was installed last week. However, there is a communication issue between the computer system and the main system located at the San Fernando City Hall.
Kimball said that the issue should be resolved by next week, and the infiltration system should be operational by the next time it rains.
Sod has been placed over the field, which will remain closed to allow the grass to take root.
Kimball gave a tentative date of Oct. 12 for the park to reopen to the public — a year and a half after the park was first closed. To celebrate the occasion, the City is planning to have a grand reopening ceremony for the park.
“If everything goes according to plan, [Oct. 12] should be when we will take the fences off and the park should be available for community use,” Kimball said.
The project has taken around 18 months to be completed — it was initially estimated to be finished in June but rainy weather, testing the system and acquiring the necessary permits delayed the project.
The San Fernando Regional Park Infiltration Project began in April 2022. The goal of the infiltration system, which cost an estimated $11.2 million, is to collect runoff from three storm drains, remove any impurities from the water and convey it to an underground system to be infiltrated. The drainage area is estimated to be 940 acres in size — approximately 70 percent of the area of San Fernando.
The system is meant to protect local water bodies like the Pacoima Wash and Los Angeles River from impurities while also supporting groundwater recharge for the San Fernando groundwater basin, which is used by the city of LA.
The project would reduce the impact of heavy rain in the City of San Fernando. In March 2022, more than an inch of rain fell in parts of the San Fernando Valley and Southern California, filling the Pacoima Wash with rushing water. The park — where work on the project would begin a month later — had become flooded, soaking the baseball field and the recreation area.
There were also the severe rainstorms that beset California earlier this year. Data from the National Weather Service reported an estimated 28.4 inches of rain fell in LA between July 2022 and June 2023. Additionally, an average of 27.6 inches of rain fell in California between Oct. 1, 2022, and March 20, 2023.
Although the infiltration project doesn’t benefit San Fernando through its groundwater recharge, it reduces the likelihood that LA would take up more water from the Sylmar groundwater basin, which is shared between the two cities.
If the San Fernando basin were to run out of water, the city of LA would have to use more water from the Sylmar basin, meaning less would be available for San Fernando. That would result in an increase in the amount of water San Fernando would have to buy from the Metropolitan Water District, which the City has had to do since last April when it had to shut down one of its wells in the Sylmar basin due to a high concentration of nitrates.