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SACRAMENTO – A proposed underground sewage vault at McKinley Park in Sacramento could now be significantly delayed, or, not happen at all.

This month, attorneys representing a group of East Sacramento residents have filed a lawsuit claiming the city failed to comply with state environmental laws when submitting plans for this project.

Since the 1870s, McKinley Park has offered a welcome retreat for Sacramentans looking to escape the city’s streets.

Those who enjoy the park know that serenity could be fleeting, after seeing dozens of yellow signs warning of a 3.2-acre sewer tank.

“I mean that’s a lot of area. So I can’t imagine it being buried down here somewhere,” said Mike Hammer, who visits McKinley Park.

In 2017, the city announced it wanted to install a giant water storage tank under the baseball field to alleviate flooding. During storms, the tank could collect more than 7 million gallons of waste and stormwater, which would later flow back into the sewage system.

“There is obviously the odor issue that will emanate from this vault,” said attorney Stephen Cook.

Cook represents a group of residents who live near the park. This month he filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming it failed to conduct an environmental impact study.

“Concerns about the elderly, the neighboring daycare, the folks who use the park all being exposed to this hazardous material and really the failure of the city to adequately investigate those concerns and mitigate the damage that will be caused by it,” Cook said.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring, however, Cook says that’s not likely to happen.

“I can tell you that if they begin or attempt to begin construction on the vault before this lawsuit is resolved we will seek to have the court intervene and to halt that construction until these issues are adequately addressed,” Cook said.

A spokesperson for the City of Sacramento would not comment on the story due to the pending litigation.

However, the city has said the project would be partially funded by water rate increases which were approved in 2016. The project is expected to be completed by late 2020.