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'A wall of stench': Four Corners residents say they're tired of foul odor from water and sewer district

“I come home from work every day and I don’t get to breath clean air,” said Andrew Magrum. “Instead, I breath an incredible cocktail of many people’s feces.”
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 19:01:01-05

BOZEMAN — A smelly situation coming from the Four Corners Water and Sewer District has some residents looking for relief. In fact, one man says he’s moving out of his apartment soon to escape the foul odor he described.

“I come home from work every day and I don’t get to breathe clean air,” said Andrew Magrum. “Instead, I breathe an incredible cocktail of many people’s feces.”

Magrum has lived in Four Corners for the past 8 years.

“I moved to this wonderful state for its resources, its clean air, and its clean water,” said Magrum.

But ever since 2020, he’s had the perfect view of his neighbors, the Four Corners Water and Sewer District.

“It’s literally a stone's throw away,” said Magrum. "They’ve been the worst neighbors I can imagine.“

The water and sewer facility processes wastewater including sewage, and anything that goes down a drain.

Magrum told me the smell is particularly bad in the summer.

“I was working on my roof this summer and I literally almost got blown over by a wall of stench,” said Magrum.

But he can smell it this winter too even in his home, he says.

“I’m frustrated and I’m sick of it all,” said Magrum. “It’s affected my life personally, financially, and no one is doing anything about it.”

However, Phillip George, general manager of the water and sewer district, says they are doing something about it.

I followed George out to the facility where I noticed—it didn’t really stink.

But George said that wasn’t the case a few years ago.

In 2021, George and his team found some faults in their system.

“There were varying levels of odor at that time. We did several changes to it to try to improve it,” said George.

But those changes didn’t work. In 2022, they looked for new ways to stop the smell. The firm they hired recommended a new system design with a $1.3 million price tag.

That new system is still not ready.

“I think we’ve made good progress but we’re not stopping,” said George. “We want that total system and hopefully it’ll get done by fall of this year.”

In the meantime, George says they’ve received some angry calls from residents about strong odors coming from the facility, but they don’t smell it.

“So, we’re confused,” said George.

But Magrum says, “I don’t know one neighbor who hasn’t complained about the smell. It’s affected their whole lives to the point where they want to move from the places they’ve lived for years.”

And Magrum is about to do the same.

“I don’t know where I’m gonna go but I’m not going to live life every day smelling feces outside my door,” said Magrum.