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Los Cabos Stench: What’s The Problem In The Tourist Zone?

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Yuck, what is that smell?

Walk around parts of the tourist zone in Los Cabos and you will hear that exact question.

Today we’ll dive in and explore this growing issue.

What is That Smell?

Hotels and beaches in Los Cabos

On warm tropical days in Los Cabos, when the wind doesn’t blow much, there’s a lingering smell that tourists quickly sense.

But what is it and where does it come from?

Because of the recurring issues with electricity outages in Los Cabos during the summer, many of the resorts and hotels in the tourist zone have invested in desalination technology to ensure a steady supply of water for visiting tourists.

What they have not invested in, unfortunately, are sewage treatment systems.

Water supply pipes underground

According to the Operating Agency of the Drinking Water System in Los Cabos, that lingering smell in tourist zone of sewage is indeed regular sewage spills from a system that is overburdened and unable to keep up with the demand.

Director Ramon Rubio Apadaca with the agency remarked that the issue is indeed increasing and complaints are pouring in, no pun intended, from the tourist zone and other high-traffic areas around Los Cabos.

What is the Problem?

Tourists on a Beach in Los Cabos, Mexico

Director Rubio Apodaca outlined that his agency receives nearly 53 gallons of sewage every minute in addition to what it sends as drinking water.

The resorts and hotels in the Los Cabos tourist zone send additional flows of sewage from the water they treat from their own desalination systems and that in turn overloads the balance needed to properly operate the municipal sewer system.

The Operating Agency of the Drinking Water System in Los Cabos is in the process of analyzing the flows from the tourist zone and trying to find a middle ground that enables the agency to handle the level of sewage inflow, including the addition of gray water from the desalination plants.

Water Treatment Plant

It could be a mix of additional funds for new wastewater treatment facilities in Los Cabos or asking the hospitality companies with desalination plants to treat their own sewage instead.

The goal is to reduce, or eliminate, the concerns that Los Cabos visitors are complaining about on warm summer days enjoying a day in the sun, sand and surf vacation getaway with the stench of spilled sewer water wafting in the air.

Impact on Tourists

aerial of resorts on beach los cabos

Eliminating the smell of sewage for travelers to Los Cabos will definitely be a breath of fresh air, again, no pun intended, for tourists enjoying their vacation.

However, it will most likely come at a price, and Los Cabos travelers could be the ones footing the bill.

The resorts and hotels could put in their own sewage treatment systems, which they could then turn around and pass on the cost to travelers in the way of higher nightly room rates or even service fees.

Sewage Leak On Local Street

Alternatively, the municipality could build one for the tourist zone and in turn pass on the costs to the resorts and hotels which will again result in higher room rates or fees for travelers.

Either way, the most likely result is that some of the costs for the additional sewage treatment capacity will need to be paid for by visitors to Los Cabos.

According to the Los Cabos Hotel Association, a total of 45 of the local resorts and hotels currently have their own saltwater desalination plants in use to support tourists.

Los Cabos officials are expecting to have some type of plan in place to resolve the health issue once the initial analysis is completed and presented to both the municipality and the hotel association for their input and recommendations.

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