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June 1, 2015

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Residents, fed up with Sloan Channel stench, bugs, are desperate for solutions

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City of North Las Vegas

Treated water from the North Las Vegas water reclamation facility flows into Sloan Channel on June 9, 2011.

Sloan Channel

North Las Vegas homeowner Rex Austin stands near near Sloan Channel, which is located close to his home, on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. Austin is complaining that the North Las Vegas wastewater treatment plant is releasing water into the channel that is causing growth in fungus gnats and chronomid midges around his home. Clark County and the plant are in a legal battle over the issue. Launch slideshow »

Four panels of tan flypaper turned black from a layer of bugs were propped against chairs at the North Las Vegas City Council chambers with a sign that read: “Public Nuisance.”

A Clark County resident, who lives near Sloan Channel, presented them as evidence at the North Las Vegas Utilities Board meeting on Tuesday. Each strip of flypaper held a thick layer of pesky flies collected on different dates from before and after the channel was treated for bugs.

Each strip proved the problem at Sloan Channel wasn’t going away.

“I ride through these bugs every morning,” said resident Cliff Campbell at the meeting. “We’ve got an influx of spiders that all of sudden showed up. My wife has got lesions on her legs the size of nickels that she never had until the water started flowing.”

Five residents near Sloan Channel spoke out at the Utility Advisory Board meeting Tuesday about the water discharge dumped from the North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility into the channel. Their issues of bug infestations and channel deterioration are nothing new.

Since the dumping began last year, the clean, but warm water discharge has become a breeding ground for algae, bugs and foul odors that nearby resident Russell Collins described as “dirty, wet dog.” Yet the yearlong lawsuit pending between the city of North Las Vegas and Clark County over the use of the channel has blocked any solution to the issue.

Wastewater in Sloan Channel

Cliff Chapman leans against the back wall of his daughter's home as treated wastewater from the new City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility flows down the Sloan channel Thursday, June 23, 2011. His grandchildren play on a trampoline in the background. The city originally had planned to build a pipeline to transport the treated wastewater to Lake Mead but the city is now releasing treated water into the channel which flows into Lake Mead. Launch slideshow »

“We do want to be diligent in how we pursue it,” said Collins, who is also representing the Sunrise Manor Town Advisory Board before the North Las Vegas Utilities Board. “But we also have to recognize there are certain restraints in place right now from keeping us from going full-speed ahead to give you a solution.”

Cindy Sherwood, a resident attending the meeting, said she has painted her door brown, which she believes will help prevent bugs that never used to exist from hovering around her home. Eight-year-old Ashley Jones said she worries about her mixed pit bull Alexa being bitten.

“There’s billions and billions of bugs,” Campbell said. “They get up your nose and in your mouth, and hair.”

Dave Commons, the Water Reclamation Facility Administrator, said North Las Vegas never predicted the issue of bugs when it began discharging the water. To combat the growing algae and bugs, the city said it sends maintenance crews five days a week to the site.

Still, many residents remain skeptical of the progress being made, and the maintenance remains a short-term solution at best.

Campbell demanded a pipe to transport the water the distance of the channel to eliminate the issue, and Sherwood brought a petition with 260 signatures to stop water dumping. Collins said the pipe solution would work, but he knows progress for a resolution won’t be made until terms between the city and county are agreed upon.

Until then, the problems and flies won’t go away.

“My hope is the two entities come to some sort of resolution, in court or out of court I don’t care,” Collins said. “Then we can start looking at how we can come to a viable long-term solution that can be enacted in the not-too-long-term to resolve a quality-of-life issue for Sunrise Manor citizens.”

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