For five years, residents living near the Vista Valencia Golf Course say a stubborn stinky smell emanating from a stagnant brown water hazard on the links has left them scrambling to find the right agency to correct the problem.
Since 2013, they’ve called their homeowners association, the county, the city, sanitation district, public works crews, health officials and owners of the golf course, trying to find someone — anyone — who could the fix the problem and stop the stench.
The company that owns the Vista Valencia Golf course — seen on the east side of Interstate 5 between Lyons Avenue and McBean Parkway — announced Tuesday it is removing the stinky water this week.
“American Golf Corp., owner of the Vista Valencia Golf Course, is aware of the issue regarding the pond located on the course and has begun necessary steps to address the problem,” Rand Huguely, general counsel for the corporation, said in a written statement.
“Contractors will be onsite this week to conduct preliminary work and preparations to remove the water from the pond and remedy the situation. Our contractor is currently scheduled to complete the work by Monday.”
News of the cleanup comes on the heels of an inspection of the “pond” carried out Friday by Los Angeles County Public Health officials.
The public health inspector spent an hour at the golf course Friday conducting a “complaint investigation,” according to a copy of the inspection report obtained by The Signal.
The inspector commented in his report: “Conducted complaint investigation regarding ‘Man made lake is not kept up, no water movement’, observed standing water in the lake with a sewage-like smell. Operator stated they are trying to drain lake, did not observe any mosquito breeding at the time of inspection.”
Public health inspectors are particularly concerned about West Nile virus and its transmission by mosquitoes.
The result of his probe: “Corrective action, follow up required.”
Public health inspectors are expected to revisit the golf Course Aug. 10.
For residents living next to the “pond,” cleanup could not have come at a better time.
“We, literally, thought there was a dead animal inside our walls,” said Jon Stein, who lives on Trevino Drive next to the golf course. “That’s how bad it was.”
Stein and other residents on Trevino, and those who live on adjacent streets that skirt the contour of the golf course, on Masters Cup Way and Sand Wedge Lane, have complained about the smell.
Mark Patti, who lives on Player Drive, compares the water hazard smell to rotten eggs. “We can’t sleep with the windows open,” he said.
“We had to contact the city (of Santa Clarita), the Los Angeles County (Department of) Public Works, and everyone has been very responsive,” he said, noting that despite the attention, the problem persists.
The problem began in 2013, he said, when residents first approached their homeowners association to do something about it.
“We know what a sewer smells like and this smell is not that,” said Gary Choppe, spokesman for the Valencia Fairways Homeowners Association.
“We did our due diligence and we called all the necessary departments,” he said.
One of those departments was the county Public Works Department.
“We did a thorough check of the sewer system and I can tell you that the source of this smell is not and never has been the sewer system,” Steve Frasher, spokesman for the county’s Public Works Department, said Tuesday.
Frasher said the sewer system at the golf course is clean — as sewers go — noting the system was cleaned just last month.
So when golf club owners begin removing the water this week as promised, they might find a few golf balls inside it, Choppe said.
According to Choppe, any golfer who sees a ball go in the water hazard is not going in to get it.