Family claims 30 year odor problem from lift station

Eva Flores said a nearby Brownsville Public Utilities Board lift station has been emitting a "horrible sewer stench almost like a human waste stench," throughout her neighborhood, for the past 30 years.

Her mother Gloria Farroba, first moved in to the neighborhood before the station existed, but she said once PUB built the station, going outdoors became often unbearable.

"It's so strong at times, Flores said. Like last night - our eyes water, we become nauseated, we get headaches and PUB always comes out for quick fixes, and spread a little bit of deodorizer, and their gone.

Flores TMs mother even complained to the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality back in 2003. They inspected the station, but could not find the odors the family speaks of.

But Flores said the odor doesn't just stop them from enjoying a breath of fresh air, she said it has caused much more serious problems.

"A lot of us who grew-up after the substation are now in our 30s...and all of us have had at least one child with some kind of special needs or birth defect, Flores said. I think there's a direct link."

But PUB Spokesperson Ernesto Garrido, said PUB has been awarded numerous recognitions for their health and safety standards.

He said the city does as much as possible to reduce odors at the 170 functioning lift stations throughout Brownsville.

"Lift station 41 is in our outer hinges of the south plant, on the south distribution zone Garrido said. So a lot of times, the waste water is standing still on these pipes, so when the pump turns-on, that's what could be creating the odors."

Garrido said PUB is currently undertaking an odor study to see what product is best to help in reduce the odors at lift stations. The study will be completed early next year.

"When the pumps turn-on, it creates that unpleasant odor, but as far as health concerns, B-PUB is meeting all state regulations and requirements, (and) the TECQ normally inspects all the lift stations."