The Oxnard City Council has abandoned its plans to build a sludge composting facility, unanimously voting to cancel its contract with the company that was to develop it.
Council members Tuesday directed Oxnard's Public Works Department to "make a fair and reasonable compensation" to Compost Systems Inc., which was awarded the $3.3-million contract last year.
The project would have piped sewage from the city's waste water treatment plant on Perkins Road to a nearby plot of agricultural land just outside city limits on Hueneme and Casper roads.
A city report labeled the plant "infeasible at this time," partly because of anticipated resort and marina development in the adjacent Ormond Beach area.
Last month, the city designated the proposed compost facility site as its official entry in a race for the California State University branch slated for Ventura County.
'Could Be Really Nice'
"The whole face of Ormond Beach is now planned to change and it looks like it could be really nice down there," said Timothy P. Nanson, assistant public works director and an author of the report.
In addition, farmers had objected that the plant would conflict with agricultural uses in the area. The Local Agency Formation Commission, a regulatory agency that coordinates changes in the boundaries of local governments, had protested the city's annexation of the 79-acre plot, a step city planners viewed as essential to the project's success.
Still at issue is how the city will dispose of sludge in the future. The operating permit for the only landfill in the county that accepts sludge, the Simi Valley Landfill, expires in August as the dump approaches its capacity.
Nearby landowners are expected to protest the landfill's bid for expansion.
"We don't have what we consider to be a long-term, reliable source of sludge disposal," Nanson said.