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Is there a solution to stopping the bugs along Clark County's Sloan Flood Channel?
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - The frustration level among people living along Clark County's Sloan Flood Channel is rising with the temperatures. They're battling bugs while Clark County and North Las Vegas battle it out in court. What's holding up a settlement that could end the misery?
Swarms of bugs feed on algae that forms as treated wastewater from North Las Vegas' $300 million plant flows downstream through Clark County's Sloan Flood Channel. Water from the five mile long channel eventually ends up in Lake Mead.
"The bugs is the one that is really bad because sometimes you'll be walking and they're all over your face. It goes through your ears, your eyes, your mouth, " explained Shirley Bangs.
"They head for your face and your hair like right now. It's really bad," said Ruth Bayne.
So how did this problem begin? North Las Vegas began flushing treated waste water from it's new plant into the Sloan Channel a year ago. It didn't take long for clumps before clumps of algae formed.
North Las Vegas joined Clark County in weekly cleanups but here's the million dollar question. Can the financially strapped city foot the clean up bill no one can even estimate?
"We have our own personnel or the other option is to outsource that, have a private company come in and do it," said Mayor Sheri Buck.
But Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, whose district is located along part of the channel, doesn't think North Las Vegas can maintain the clean up effort.
"They've barely got enough manpower left in North Las Vegas to take care of the city. Now they're down here stuck trying to do all this stuff," said Collins.
Last May, North Las Vegas sued to flush into the channel after an underground pipeline project fell through. The county sued to stop the flow. The stakes are high. If the county wins, North Las Vegas taxpayers are stuck paying for a $300 million plant they can't use. If North Las Vegas wins, county residents are stuck paying for a wetlands environment they never expected.
So what's the hold up on a settlement that could keep both sides out of the court?
"Unfortunately they've added in other issues not related to the wastewater treatment plant," said Mayor Buck.
She says the settlement has several conditions that are more about turf wars than treated wastewater including a promise that North Las Vegas won't annex any county land and won't go after the county's million dollar sewage contract with Nellis. Commissioner Collins claims the fix is easy.
"It's real simple. There's one valve over there that ties their line into the City of Las Vegas. They open that valve up, they'd be in compliance with all the laws and they can try to do this properly," said Commissioner Collins.
While public officials try to avoid going to court in September bug weary Sloan neighbors face a long steamy summer. Shirley Bangs says a clean up crewmember told her raking the algae up is the best they can do for now.
"So we just have to suffer. That's exactly what he said. Just deal with it," said Shirley.