Sylacauga residents concerned about strange odor - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Sylacauga residents concerned about strange odor

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A packed-out meeting in Sylacauga Tuesday night as people looked for answers about an odor some people say is making them sick. The environmental protection agency is investigating..

The EPA is testing the air and a local creek near a closed waste water treatment center. The company that owned it is no longer operating the facility. But an emergency situation happened there 3 weeks ago and the EPA is now investigating.

For the last several years, Sylacauga residents have noticed a strange odor that's getting worse. Harriett Fuller says "You can close your doors and windows, that's what they're saying to do, but you still smell it." at times, I can go into my bathroom and smell it in my commode."

Residents say it's taking a toll on their health. Many shared these concerns with EPA representatives. Resident Charlotte Jones says "They say it's not toxic, but we're having bad headaches from this stuff. We're having burning in our noses."

The EPA says the odor is coming from the Reef Waste Water Treatment Center on Twin Street which has been closed. The EPA has come in to treat some material on site.

 "What was under a dome was hydrogen sulfide gas. We had to treat it and stabilize that condition." David Andrews with the EPA says while the odor is a nuisance.. the situation is not severe enough to evacuate the area.

Andrews says "The odor migrates around and affects different people differently." But people are still worried, especially about their children.

Mayor Jim Heigl says "I know it moves slowly, I hate it, but thankfully we're at the end now and we've got the EPA and they're going to take care of it."

The EPA says its hoping to get rid of the odor in the next couple of months. A local group called Protecting Our Environment for Tomorrow told residents its going to ask the Attorney General's Office to investigate the situation.

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