Sewer workers respond to smell concerns of golf course neighbors

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Now that a stagnant pool of water has been drained from the links of the Vista Valencia Golf Course, its owners fined by the city for allowing it to get that way and manhole covers near the course sealed to lock in sewer smells, the stink that has plagued a Valencia community for five years is expected to dissipate.

“Once the stuff dries out and it’s exposed to the sunlight, the smell should dissipate,” said Steve Frasher, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, reflecting on the Sunday draining of the stagnant pond.

Although the sewer system near the golf course was never a source of the smell, he said, public works crews have repeatedly followed up on the concerns expressed to them.

“It’s not the sewer and never has been the sewer,” Frasher said.

On the quiet streets around the golf course, managed by the Valencia Fairways Homeowners Association, in a neighborhood off of Trevino Drive, attention among some residents shifted to the sewers once water from the stagnant pond had been drained Sunday.

Residents walking their dogs along the path that skirts the fenced-off golf course described the reduced smell Tuesday as, according to one man: “a 2 on a scale of one to 10” with 10 being the worst of smells.

But, with the lingering smell of sewage still in the air, attention shifted to the sewer system.

One resident pointed to a manhole cover — the one closest to the golf course — noting that a sewer crew worker had sealed it Monday with a pulpy brown substance.

“It’s caulking,” Frasher said. “In an attempt to be responsive to the community, we did temporarily seal the manhole cover.”

Frasher stressed that although the sewer was not the source of the smell troubling golf course neighbors, the directive to seal the manhole was done to ensure “that it’s not contributing” to the smell, he said.

In the last month, officials representing both the city of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County inspected the water hazard at the golf club when it was full of water.

Each is expected to return to the site to assess corrective action taken by the golf club’s owner, American Golf Corp., now that the water hazard looks more like a sand trap, roped off with yellow caution tape.

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 Department of Public Health 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.

Further follow-up inspections are expected to be carried out by both the city and the county this month.

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