I-Team: Condo complex leaking raw sewage; tenants fear potential collapse
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A condo complex one block from the Las Vegas Strip faces plumbing and structural issues, in large part due to raw sewage leaking from the ground.
The Desert Inn Villas at 356 E. Desert Inn Road near Paradise Road are six three-story buildings connected by walkways. The complex was built in 1963, according to records.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” apartment owner Omar Mazeghou told I-Team.
“The place is only going to deteriorate,” said Carl Osborne, a tenant. “The walls in some parts of the building are bulging outwards.”
Exterior walls are bulging, some interior sidewalks are cracked and untreated sewage is leaking under the buildings, tenants said and an inspection report indicated. When the I-Team visited the property, there were pieces of toilet paper where sewage had dried on the ground around the exposed pipes.
“You can smell it,” said Osborne, who first moved into the complex 30 years ago. “I am really sad that it has deteriorated as it has.”
A Clark County inspector visited the property in February 2021 and found the drainage system was clogged, “creating backflow in the sinks of lower tenants and other interceptors,” according to a report.
“The drain plugs were removed to stop the backflow into the lower tenant interceptors, which in turn allows gray water to drain onto sidewalks, parking lots and driveways, creating a danger to the environment ”, the report indicated.
“In addition, the areas around the pool have become dilapidated,” he continued. “The sidewalks are sinking, creating large cracks that can cause a tripping hazard. The walls of the pool are warping, showing signs of structural failure, which can lead to life safety issues.
The Ministry of Building and Fire Prevention issued the homeowners association a second notice of the order and reduction last week. The notice mentions “evidence of a potential settlement in several locations around the six condominiums and two elevators.” It appears that the settlement could be caused by the irrigation system and raw sewage dumped between the structures, evidence of which was visible in the concrete around the pool deck and surrounding concrete interior walkways.
“It is extremely dangerous,” Mazeghou said, adding that his apartment was flooded earlier this year with suspected sewage. He said he no longer sleeps in his unit.
“I have been homeless for nine months even though I own my property,” he said.
Since February, Osborne and Mazeghou have sent the I-Team photos and videos of the ongoing issues. This summer, county inspectors said the building’s entrance hall posed “an imminent danger to public safety.”
“One side of the building appears to be tilting one way,” Osborne said. “Stand in front of this side of the building and you can kind of see it. “
Warning tape surrounds the Desert Inn side of the property and some of the windows appear to be warped. Due to the resort’s location near the Strip, the county has zoned it for future hotel and tourist use, making the land valuable.
The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has issued the Desert Inn Villas Owners Association with a notice of violation due to the sewage leak, a spokeswoman said. A representative from the building is due to attend a hearing on solid waste management in November.
Osborne and Mazeghou said they had both been in contact with the county and the SNHD.
“They also mentioned to me that they would hate to condemn the place because it makes everyone homeless, that everyone should move out,” Osborne said.
A representative for the building management company said the aging building and plumbing system was costing the association more than $ 1 million to repair.
“The HOA and our management company have made this top priority and are calling for all possible favors to speed up the process,” the First Columbia Community Managers representative said in an email. “We are working with contractors, engineers and consultants to stop solving current problems and finally correct them once and for all. These repairs represent a huge expense for the association financially and with limited resources we can only do them so quickly. “
He added from what he was told, the building is not in danger of collapsing.
The county has asked the homeowners association to complete structural repairs as soon as permits are obtained.