Seeking Solutions to Eliminate Sewer Gas


I am writing in regard to the foul smell of sewage around our town.  Lately the smell has been worse and I have noticed it on Glenneyre, Forest Avenue and most especially inside my house early in the morning hours right before I wake up.

It is so pungent that it can literally wake me from a sound sleep.  It just so happens that the main sewer line for the entire town of Laguna Beach runs down the middle of Coast Highway, and one of the sewer vents used to exhaust the noxious gases is located on Coast Highway right across the street from my home in Victoria Beach.  If the wind is blowing down canyon, my house can be completely engulfed in the most nauseating smell you can ever imagine.  This venting of sewer gases takes place intermittently throughout the day and night. The higher the ambient temperature outside, the more the venting occurs. That’s why the smell is so much worse in the summer time.

When I bought my home, the real estate agent and the seller failed to disclose this little tidbit of information, so I was quite surprised to learn that a major sewer vent is located so close to my front door. I have notified the city of Laguna Beach on several occasions to come out and get a whiff for themselves of what I get to smell regularly.  Of course the venting never seems to occur when they’re here to check on my complaint. There are a number of sewer vents along Coast Highway, that’s why you often get a whiff of sewage near Crescent Bay, Victoria Beach and the Montage. On Forest and Ocean Avenues, you smell the sewage because there are open drains along those streets.

I don’t really know what can be done to remedy this problem.  The city has been pretty cooperative in listening to my complaints and coming out to assess the situation, but after three years I don’t see any improvement.  It is my belief that the overgrowth of home building in our town has far exceeded the ability of our aging sewer system to handle the load. I’ve never seen anybody write an editorial on this issue, so I may be the first.  I do know that several of my neighbors have called the city about the same issue. Perhaps if more people get involved something might get resolved. The stench is so overwhelming at times I’ve had to resort to buying scented candles from Pier I Imports and burning them to mask it.

If anybody else feels this to be a problem, please join me in contacting the city of Laguna Beach, water quality department, and let them know that this is truly unacceptable in our otherwise mostly pristine little seaside town.

Marsha Bianchi, Laguna Beach

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