Plan to deal with golf course smell hammered out

An empty pond at Vista Valencia golf course after the water was drained due to smell complaints. Joel Rosario/The Signal

A plan of action was hammered out Thursday between public agencies responding to the ongoing concerns of residents complaining about smell in their neighborhood and owners of the Vista Valencia Golf Course, where the smell was believed to originate.

The plan calls for the city of Santa Clarita to take the lead in obtaining full compliance for the cleanup of the once-stinky golf course water hazard.

The water hazard was drained completely of water Sunday, and roped off with yellow caution tape while it dries out.

City and county officials met at the golf course Thursday — not to play a round of golf, but to draft a plan of action with regard to any future concerns about the water hazard.

The City

About Thursday’s meeting, city spokeswoman Carrie Lujan said: “City and county staff reviewed the site and discussed remediation plans for both short-term and long-term solutions to address odors and stagnant water in the pond.

“City staff in conjunction with the county will be issuing a notice of violation addressing the odor issue as a public nuisance,” she said. “Vista Valencia will be working on addressing any remaining odor issues and is expected to submit a formal long-term plan to the city by Aug. 24.

“City and county staff also encouraged Vista Valencia to outreach to the adjacent homeowners association to educate their neighbors about the measures they will be taking to address this issue,” Lujan said.

The County

Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Kathryn Barger, spoke with concerned residents about the smell and said the county will be assisting the city.

A statement issued Thursday by the county’s Public Health Department reads: “The City of Santa Clarita is now lead on obtaining full compliance in regards to mitigating the pond at Vista Valencia Golf Course.

“The golf course management is required to submit plans to the city to mitigate odor while work is being done, as well as long-term odor mitigation. The plans must be reviewed and approved by the city of Santa Clarita.”

Owners of the golf course, American Golf Corp., have been cooperating with city and county agencies in an effort to eliminate the stink created by stagnant water hazard water.

The owners

Rand Huguely, general counsel and spokesman for American Golf Corp., said: “Representatives of the city, county, and Vista Valencia Golf Course met on Thursday to review the site and discuss plans for both the short-term and long-term remediation of the odor, which sometimes occurs naturally at the pond.

“Prior to dispersing any pond water onto its golf course, Vista Valencia Golf Course had the water independently tested by a third-party consultant, and the water was found to be clean and free from any contaminants,” he said.

“We commonly disperse clean, uncontaminated irrigation water from our ponds onto the golf course.

“The third-party test results have been provided to officials from both the city of Santa Clarita and the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

“We will continue to work closely with both the city and the county as we develop those plans going forward, to ensure that all proper approvals have been received,” Huguely said.

The residents

Jon Stein, who lives near the golf course and has endured the foul smell for years, said of the smell Thursday: “Hard to tell. It’s really 10 p.m. to  6 a.m. when it’s getting worse, as you work your way to 6 o’clock that it smells.

“I can’t really smell anything right now,” he said at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. “But, I can tell you last night around 9 p.m. i would rate it a 6 (on a scale of one to 10.)

Citations

Golf course owners were ordered by both city and county officials to drain the pond suspected of emitting the foul odor.

On Monday, the owner was fined $100 for having failed to maintain the pond as ordered by the city’s code enforcement officers. The same officers are expected to visit the golf course on Sunday to see if it has been cleaned up. If not, the golf course faces another fine of an additional $100.

As well, an environmental health inspector with the county’s Public Health Department inspected the site twice at the end of July and three times this month, each time noting corrective steps taken to drain the stagnant water.

jholt@signalscv.com

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This post was last modified on August 16, 2018, 8:27 pm

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