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Homeless Encampment Near Water Source Troubles Some Stockton Residents

STOCKTON -- It was a carefree cruise on the main water channel in Stockton that quickly turned unsavory for Adam Farrow.

"That’s our water system for the whole Stockton area," he said.

Farrow says over the weekend he saw someone from a homeless encampment dump a white bucket into the water.

"You could tell it was sewage with toilet paper and this-and-that in it, or paper towels or whatever it happened to be," Farrow told FOX40.

Farrow says he fears the city's drinking water may be contaminated.

"I think it’s a health hazard and I think the public needs to know about it," he said. "I think something needs to be done about it.”

An official with the Municipal Utilities Department said all drinking water is filtered then treated for contaminants before it hits consumers faucets.

"The Stockton water treatment plant, I don’t think is made to treat raw sewage, it’s made to treat river water," Farrow said.

Jack Snow, who is homeless, says he and his wife and most people in the encampment, respect the water.

"Everybody uses the marina for bathrooms and stuff like that,” Snow said.

FOX40 spoke to the General Counsel and Secretary of the Empire Tract, the group which manages the levee. Adam Coon said they have been dealing with encampments for years and have asked the county to abandon and close down the road. Coon told FOX40 they’ll continue to push the county to move until a permanent answer is found -- solutions everyone involved seems to be looking for.

“We also need to take care of the homeless and maybe find a permanent solution for them but for right now a short-term would just be to put a port-a-potty out there,” Farrow said.

“We’re out here because it’s the only place you can park without getting ran off,” Snow told us.

Some of the homeless people FOX40 spoke to said they’ve been out on the levee for two days to a week, but they may not be there for long. A spokesman with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department said deputies were out there Wednesday citing individuals and towing unregistered watercrafts.

The camp was cleared by Wednesday afternoon.