Red Bluff resident sues city over 'smelly' sewer line

May 11, 2015 8:35 PM by Charlene Cheng

For years, Red Bluff resident Kathy Nelson has been dealing with overwhelming sewage odors at her home on Wahlbridge Street.

"Like Halloween, when people come to your door and you come out to give out candy, they go, 'do you have dead bodies buried around here?'" she said.

Nelson's complaint, filed in Tehama County Superior Court on April 27, names the city, City Manager Richard Crabtree, and Public Works Director Bruce Henz as defendants.

It says that she's suffered physical discomfort, embarrassment, inconvenience when guests visit, and a loss in property value.

Nelson says that this is a fight she's been having with the city for five years.

In June of 2014, Henz presented a report to city council, stating that the Public Works staff believes that the odors are coming from the city sewer main.

The report goes on to state that the only possible leakages would be coming through vents in the residents homes.

According to Nelson, that isn't true.

"We know that for a fact, and we've gone out when the smell was real bad and smelt down them, and there was no smell coming out," she said.

Nelson's neighbor Larry Bonds, who's not on the complaint, says that he's been forced to seek medical attention.

"The smell is so bad that I've been violently physically ill, throwing up, vomiting, severe headaches," he said.

The lawsuit was filed by Redding attorney Walt McNeill.

He says the city has an obligation to make sure their sewer systems are functioning properly.

"We really would like the city to just fix the issue. They've been ignoring it. It's not just a problem for Kathy Nelson, but also for others in the neighborhood," McNeill said.

Nelson says that she hadn't considered legal action in the past, but living through her husband's final years was the last straw.

"For the last year and a half that he was alive, we couldn't even go out in our backyard and enjoy it," she said.

Action News Now reached out to City Attorney Richard Crabtree in an email. He declined to comment, due to pending litigation.


Most Popular