Local business deals with sewer problems


A local business owner on St. Joseph Street recently voiced her frustration regarding a sewer problem within the building.

Suzanne Zaitz, owner of Spaces Sublime, has been dealing with a sewer smell inside her business for more than a year and a half.

The problem started when the city replaced a pipe in front of the property at 507 St. Joseph St., Gonzales, and was believed to have cracked one of the clay pipes under her business, according to Zaitz.

“A year ago, June, I closed for a month for my landlord to replace the pipes outside under the sidewalk. So I closed down for a month for that, but it didn't fix the problem,” Zaitz said.

Zaitz complained to her landlord, Ken Morrow, about the continuing smell from the sewer and that it was a health concern.

“It's gotten to the point where myself and my manager have been getting sick. And both of our doctors have said what we're having is likely due to inhaling the sewer gas, like migraines,” Zaitz said.

Zaitz contacted District 4 City Councilwoman Ronda Miller, who asked City Manager Tim Patek and the city inspector to help get in contact with Morrow about the sewer issue.

Morrow spoke to the Inquirer, talking about the sewer gas problem from the buildings he manages (505 and 507 St. Joseph St.) and mentioned the sidewalk that was cut to fix the issue.

Morrow spent more than $6,000 to fix the pipe, but the smell still came back.

“It seemed like it fixed it, but then it came back, especially depending on the wind direction and depending on the ACs being on, so we're still trying to fix the problem right now,” Morrow said.

The city did a smoke test in February 2021 inside the pipes to determine where the smell was coming from, and Zaitz described it “as if the building was on fire.”

According to Morrow, Zaitz contacted the city about another smoke test while he was out of town.

“I wasn't in town. I wasn't invited to the meeting. And I'm back in town now. We can plan it,” Morrow said.

Morrow speculated that there might be an unconnected sewer line under the building that is causing the smell.

Zaitz, Morrow and the city crew met at Spaces Sublime Tuesday, June 14, for a second smoke test of the building, and determined it was the clean-out drain.

The whole pipe would need to be replaced with a four-inch PVC pipe without damaging the floor of the business, according to Morrow.