Central Arizona Project officials: illegal dumping an issue

A Central Arizona Project (CAP) worker is still recovering Thursday, after he was stung hundreds of times by bees on Wednesday.

The worker was moving a couch that was illegally dumped when he was swarmed. That worker, along with a co-worker, were removing a couch under the overpass of the Loop 303 near Lake Pleasant Parkway, when the incident happened.

CAP officials said dumping is a major issue, and happens many more times than it should. Officials said anytime someone dumps something near the canal, it puts their workers at risk, and Wednesday's incident, officials said, strongly proved that point.

"This was a couch out in the middle of nowhere, gets infested with something," said Bob Moody, Director of Field Maintenance with the CAP. "This time, it was bees, and often times it's rattlesnakes. In fact, oftentimes that's what we're on alert for is rattlesnakes. In this case, there was a rat under there that caught their attention, and unfortunately, it distracted them from seeing the bees at the time."     

The CAP is a water canal that stretches about 300 miles long, starting east of Lake Havasu all the way to an area south of Tucson. Moody said they do routine searches and constantly find things that shouldn't be in the area.

"Appliances, big time," said Moody. "Cars, cars that have been left there and set on fire. Virtually anything you'd find in your garage that you don't want anymore and need to hit the garbage can with. Other things including hazardous wastes, paints and things like that, that should not be out there."

Moody is hoping Wednesday's incident will open peoples eyes, and they will think about the environment and the people that have to pick it up before they illegally dump.

"It is a huge hazard for us here," said Moody. "We spend a lot of money sending our crews out, taking them away from their normal work load, maintaining the aqueduct, keeping the water moving and having to pick up the trash people have thrown out."

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