The city of Alamo is holding a public hearing on Thursday June 16th with residents and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discuss concerns of foul odor emitted from the open lagoon sewer treatment plant.
A group of young adults involved in the group Jovenes del Valle en Accion tracked down the source of the odor about a year ago.
“We started, again, looking for answers for where the odor was coming from and we ended up with the waste waters from Alamo that is South of our Colonias,” said Juan Antonio Garcia, a member of Jovenes del Valle en Accion.
The group of young adults works with help from ARISE (A Resource in Serving Equality), a local community action organization.
The group said the plant has been in the area for 65 years, and has always emitted a foul odor, but residents didn’t realize the plant was the root of the smell.
“It smells dirty, like poop. It’s very strong. It’s like something is rotting there,” described San Juanita Martinez, a resident living in the South Tower Estates Colonia just two blocks from the plant.
Alamo City Manager Luciano Ozuna Jr. told CBS 4 that the city was aware of the problem and even invested money to try to diminish the strength of the smell.
“Ever since last year, we’ve spent $1.7 million adding retrofits to the plant, alleviating the odors that come from the plant,” Ozuna said.
Ozuna also added that the fans were the short-term solution. He says the city has applied for state grants to get rid of the lagoon plant and instead use a mechanical plant which emits no smell.
The funds have not yet been acquired, and the city’s permit is up for renewal, as it is every five years. Thursday’s meeting with TCEQ will be so that residents can voice concerns about the current plant before TCEQ decides on whether to renew the city’s permit for the lagoon plant or not.
The city says the lagoon plant is all it has for now, which is why it is necessary to renew the permit.