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Horrible smell riles up Viva Villas

Their eyes watering and noses crinkling, people who live and work near a sewage pump station complain that the odorless facility isn't.

By GARRETT THEROLF
Published May 19, 2006


[Times photo: Brendan Fitterer]
For years, Jim Baiocco has complained to the county about the odor from the nearby sewage lift station. "I've been calling the county all along to fix the problem, but I get nowhere," he said. On Thursday, a county crew was there to work on the station on U.S. 19 near Denton Avenue in Hudson.

HUDSON - Jim and Phyllis Baiocco sat quietly in the back yard, fidgeting. They each tried to find the right way to delicately ask the question.

"Was it you?" Jim finally asked Phyllis.

"No, I was wondering the same thing about you," Phyllis told Jim.

Turns out the foul odor was coming from the sewage pump station just over the backyard fence of their Viva Villas home. That moment more than two years ago would mark the beginning of a long, unsuccessful effort by the Baioccos, surrounding neighbors and businesses to get the county to fix the problem.

"As you can smell, it is overwhelming. We often can't go outside to enjoy the back yard," said Phyllis, a 62-year-old homemaker.

"I've been calling the county all along to fix the problem, but I get nowhere," said Jim, a 63-year-old retired carpenter. "Once, the guy told me the pumps weren't working, but I usually don't hear anything back."

The pump station, a mostly underground facility that is supposed to work odorlessly, is a key link in the county's aging system. Located on U.S. 19 near Denton Avenue, it collects sewage from all of the coastal communities between the northern county line and State Road 52 and pushes it to a wastewater treatment plant.

"The sewage is getting pretty old by the time it reaches the station there," said Utilities Director Bruce Kennedy.

Kennedy said the calls made by the Baioccos, neighbors and workers at nearby businesses had not reached him.

"This is the first I've heard of the problem," he said. "We will address control systems and see what is going on. Maybe it's at a point where it needs some serious attention and we'll do that."

But the neighbors aren't holding their breath - unless they have to.

"Oh really, now they're going to get to it," said Tom Contino, a salesman at neighboring Florida Boat Connection, upon hearing the news.

In the meantime, Contino said, "we can go three or four weeks without selling a boat because no one wants to be outside around here."

Garrett Therolf covers Pasco county government. He can be reached at 727 869-6232 or at gtherolf@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 19, 2006, 03:00:21]


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