Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Engineers will try to determine cause of sewer smell in Largo's Paradise Island mobile home park

LARGO — There's something ironic about a mobile home community called "Paradise Island" that is 6 miles inland and sandwiched between another mobile home community and a busy county road.

The irony is deepened by the odor of sewage that Paradise Island residents say they sometimes smell as they walk along Caribbean Way, Antigua Lane, Barbados Lane and other similarly named roads in the 828-unit park.

The roads are named for places that engender images and sensations of the beach — palm trees and pina coladas, maybe the smell of a sunbather using too much sunscreen, but certainly not this stench.

So the residents and park management, who firmly believe that this funk is not their fault, have fought Largo city management for years to admit that the smell might be caused by the city. Last year they won a victory when the city agreed to fund a third-party study of the area's odor.

Later this summer, a Louisville, Ky., environmental engineering firm will start a $60,700 study designed to answer a question that has plagued Paradise Island residents for years: "What is that smell?"

• • •

The smell, according to Paradise Island park manager Nancy Perry, has been a problem since at least the late 1990s. Perry thinks the smell's source is a gully that runs north-south between Paradise Island and Fairway Village, the 751-home community to the east.

Paradise Island's wastewater lines tie into the city's system at two points along the gully, and a 2009 sinkhole there spurred Perry to action. She asked Largo management to pay the $15,000 repair tab, because she thought the city's sewer lines caused the corrosion that led to the collapse.

City management initially turned her away, Perry said, claiming the problem was in the park's system. She went to her Fairway Village neighbors, though, and brought people from both communities to City Commission meetings, demanding action.

Perry brought laminated pictures of sewer pipes in the gully and pointed to spots of white and yellowish decay as evidence of corrosion.

She scored a victory last fall when city management agreed to pay for an odor and corrosion control study.

"We went to every single meeting, pounding away," she said Tuesday with pride. "I think they saw a growing tide. And I was not going to give up."

• • •

"This has taken a long time," Mayor Pat Gerard said as she introduced the proposed study for discussion at last week's City Commission meeting.

Environmental Services director Irvin Kety explained to the commissioners that the complexity of the study, and finding the right company, delayed the process. The study's scope has widened to include areas around 142nd and 150th avenues between Lake Avenue and 58th Street.

Commissioner Harriet Crozier asked Kety whether the engineering company — Webster Environmental — will test Paradise Island's systems as well.

"We hired them specifically because their focus is only on odor issues in wastewater collection systems," Kety told Crozier. "If he feels that their well is an important component, he will include that in his sampling recommendations."

Webster engineers will take samples this summer, Kety told the commission, and city staffers will update commissioners in October. Webster engineers probably will want to test during the winter as well, so the study won't be complete until next spring.

Once done, staff members expect Webster engineers to pinpoint the source of the odor and provide a number of ways to neutralize it and any corrosion problems.

Largo management has not said the smell is definitely the city's fault, but Perry sees the fact that they're paying $60,700 for the study as a win.

"I'd like to think that we're going to help a lot of people," Perry said. "I just hate to think you have to fight so hard to get somebody to listen to you."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Engineers will try to determine cause of sewer smell in Largo's Paradise Island mobile home park 07/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  2. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot


    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  3. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.