'River of poop': Neighbors living in Palm Bay worried about water quality near their homes

Neighbors who live near Turkey Creek in Palm Bay are worried about what’s being dumped in the water behind their homes. 

They’ve asked the city of Palm Bay to do something about the issue for decades. So far, nothing’s changed, so they’re mobilizing to save the canal they love. 

"It’s disgusting. You see actual turds floating," said one homeowner.

Jackie Pignolet called it "a river of poop."

Another homeowner, Wayne, told FOX 35, he "wouldn’t eat nothing anymore in there" but says that wasn’t always the case. 

Neighbors say dead fish and dirty water have unfortunately become the norm for people living in Palm Bay Estates, which is just off U.S. 1 near Turkey Creek.

"There’s something amiss obviously here, and the city refuses to admit that they’re at fault," said Terry Stuhlmiller, the board president in the community. 

He says the battles have been brewing for decades, and residents think a lift station for sewage water is to blame. It butts up to their homes. 

They say it overflows often and sends sludge and other wastewater into the canal from a pipe. 

"When you see scum or foam or something floating down – you say, what the heck is this," exclaimed Wayne. 

They’ve asked the city to update the infrastructure or relocate the pipes somewhere else.

"Clean up your filtration system on the other side and dredge our canal," said Jackie. 

The requests have only been met with pushback from the city. 

"They refuse to do anything about it. It’s like we don’t exist. We're not here," said Terry. 

These neighbors are worried about what’s being dumped in the canal because they live on it, but they’re also worried about it because it connects to Turkey Creek and eventually the Indian River Lagoon. They’re concerned about what impact it could be having on the overall water system.

"It’s not healthy. It’s not healthy to breathe it in," said Jackie, who lives right by the pipe that secretes sewage water. 

"Some days you walk by, and the smell is disgusting," said another homeowner. 

In this 55-plus community of almost 300 homes, the canal was once a gemstone. Now, it’s an eyesore for many. But, it’s something residents are coming together to fight for.

"This thing is deteriorating in a way that we got to put a stop to it," concluded Wayne. 

A statement from a spokesperson with the city of Palm Bay said: 

"On May 2nd, City Sewer and Stormwater Crews responded to the Palm Bay Estates area after receiving a complaint of sewer seepage into nearby surface waters and a picture of what appeared to be a dead Puffer fish. No malfunctions with either City operated system were found, nor were there any signs of sewage in the adjacent water body. The flows into this lift station and the lift station itself are remotely monitored 24 hours day and there has been no indication of an overflow at this site. Additionally, the sanitary sewer piping serving the lift station is cleaned regularly in 2–3-month intervals due to the sites proximity to the water.The Utilities Department also checked records back to 2017 for a response to a public records request yesterday and found no sanitary sewer overflows for this site."

Fox 35 reached back out to the city after receiving this statement to see if infrastructure updates are being considered at lift stations in the city and in this area, as well as any reports of grease or other foreign contaminants being reported in the lift station system.