Sewer smell slows hotel business

Sewer stench 6 year problem

SAN ANTONIO - Six years ago San Antonio Water Systems installed a large sewer line, extending it along Seguin Street behind the Howard Johnson Inn & Suites on Interstate 35.

According to hotel owner Tony Patel, a sewage smell has lingered ever since.

"We have sewage smell that comes out of the sealed manhole as well from the time and it's lingering into the lobby area," Patel said.

Some days are worse than others for hotel employees.

"We've had staff that have gone home sick because of the continuous smell in the lobby. They're getting very nauseous," Patel said.

Patel was frustrated, explaining he lost a 40 thousand dollar a year trucking company contract because of the odor.

He and his employees have logged dozens of complaints with SAWS over the last six years and workers have made almost as many service calls to the location attempting to fix the problem. 

"On several occasions they've come out and done a clean out on both manholes, that hasn't worked. They've said they've put incorrect lids. They came and replaced the lids," Patel said.

"Long story short, we were able to determine that the odors were coming from a large sewer line, which we installed several years ago to serve the east side of San Antonio. It was there already but we needed to enlarge it," said SAWS spokeswoman, Anne Hayden.

Following a call from the Defenders, SAWS crews made yet another attempt to resolve the problem.

"We installed what's called a backwater valve. It's a valve that only allows flow in one direction and snaps shut," Hayden said.

The Defenders checked back with Patel to get the status of the odor and were told, it is not gone, it is worse.

Hayden reports they will continue to investigate explaining they have odor logs on the lines to monitor the situation.


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