After decades of living with the smell of sewer water in the air, residents of the South Tower colonia can expect that to end in the near future.

“We hope that that’s the case, that they resolve the issue because it’s been like this for so many years and we expect something good,” Maria Mendoza, a 30+ year resident of the colonia, said in Spanish. 

The source of the issue? The nearby waste water treatment plant. But now, the city is required to build its replacement half a mile away from the neighborhoods it’s affected for so long.

“It’s been happening for a decade and as some of the residents said, they’ve been living with this as long as they can remember and even with all those different stakeholders at the table, it took two and a half years,” says Christina Patino Houle of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network.

That relief comes after residents and different advocacy groups spent that time working to reach an agreement with the city.

“Now that they’ve heard us, we’re more relaxed,” said Rosa Martinez, another resident. 

Now that that’s done, Alamo officials have three years to build the new plant, which gives locals hope that they can move on from the smell that may have affected their health.

“We believe that that same smell gave us allergies, asthma, and many had welts,” Martinez said. “We think it’s because of the smell.”

Soon enough, the South Tower colonia will get the help they’ve been asking for.

“Finally, someone listened to us,” said Martinez.

The city of Alamo is also required to hold public meetings in English and Spanish, as well as offer residents a hotline to call with any concerns.