Yuma, Ariz. - Some Foothills residents are fed up and also embarrassed by a foul odor surrounding their homes.
One resident said the problem has been going on for far too long.
“The top of the problem is a pervasive sewer odor in the Foothills,” said homeowner Steve Jimenez.
Residents said at times the foul odor blankets the neighborhood.
Steve Jimenez has been living in this area for about a year and a half and said the stench is so strong at times he has to get away.
“You can be sitting here and then just all of a sudden you will smell sewer, raw sewer," Jimenez said.
The apparent source, according to neighbors, is from the privately owned Far West sewer systems.
It’s not just the outside stench bothering Jimenez. He says his water has been trapped and is beginning to reek as well.
“We turn on the shower in the morning. We turn the water on for the first couple minutes it stinks,” Jimenez said.
We talked to the General Manager of Far West and he says they are in compliance with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
“If there is an odor it’s not something that could hurt you health wise. The water is totally safe. It’s tested constantly. We have to turn in an annual report to the ACC and ADEQ about the water quality and we publish that every June. That shows that the water is fine. As far as the sewers concerned, we have monitoring reports that we send to ADEQ,” said Andy Capestro.
The company is quick to point out that they have done extensive maintenance in the area by jetting and flushing the lines with chlorinated water.
“I go back and forth to check the lift stations making sure that it’s decent and everything is clean. I also make sure everything is proper,” said Gerardo Valle, Construction Supervisor for Far West.
After several complaints from homeowners, ADEQ did an air quality field inspection in December of 2017 in the area and found no bad odors.
However, on June 21, 2010, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced that Far West Water and Sewer, Inc. and H & S Developers, Inc. had agreed to a $500,000 settlement for numerous water and air quality violations in Yuma County.
In the report it reads:
“The Attorney General’s Office filed a 50-count lawsuit against Far West and H & S developers, Inc. In September 2008 alleging violations at the seven WWTPS (Wastewater Treatment Plants) and drinking water treatment plant. The violations included operating plants without permits; reusing reclaimed water for golf course irrigation without proper authorization; failing to monitor and report analytical data for contaminants in both drinking water and wastewater; failing to notify ADEQ about permit.”
Jimenez said in order for someone to fix the problem it has to be looked at by ADEQ when it’s happening.
“Right now the way the system is set up nobody can come and look at the system as it is setup without a two to three-week warning.”
Jimenez has also reached out to Far West on three different occasions to voice his concerns.
“The only response that I got was well the snowbirds are starting to come back and the system gets a little overburden. So you’re going to get some odors. Like it’s just business as usual.”
The Yuma Foothills Water and Sewer Improvement District will be having a meeting on Feb. 13th at Gila Mountain Methodist Church for residents to voice their concerns about the foul smell. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.