The Central Arizona Project canal stretches across the state, through both remote deserts and highly populated areas. One of the issues that CAP crews deal with in almost every region is illegal dumping, and it’s an issue that puts workers at risk.
Jeff Teskey, Aqueduct Maintenance Supervisor, said his crews are tasked with cleaning up everything from bags of trash and clothing to appliances, furniture and tires. The canal is fenced so the items typically end up outside of the fence, but still on CAP land and easements. The extra work to clean up the illegally dumped items is not only dangerous, but detracts from the primary work of maintaining the aqueduct to ensure reliable water deliveries.
Recently, CAP crews were removing a couch that had been dumped under the Loop 303 overpass near Lake Pleasant Parkway and as they lifted it, a large rat darted out from under it, followed by a swarm of bees which attacked the two workers. One escaped with only a few stings; however, maintenance worker Corey Spielman was stung more than 200 times. He was air lifted to the hospital, treated and released the next day. But it’s an experience that reinforces the dangers of illegal dumping.