Citizens say sewer solution still stinks

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Woodlawn residents say odor is still unbearable.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

 HILLSVILLE — A chemical agent introduced into the Woodlawn sewer system may have increased the smells blanketing the neighborhood, one resident told the Carroll Public Service Authority on Oct. 12.

Aquit has been added to the brand-new system at pump stations in an attempt to lessen a rotten egg odor coming out, PSA officials have reported, and Robin Whittington said at the regular October meeting that he can tell a difference.

"What you put in there... I can smell it, so that's getting out of the system, too," he said.

Whittington said he had a terrible weekend recently, thanks to the odor problem. He got knocked two steps back one day when trying to get out of the house to go to church.

But, it does seem to be happening less frequently.

"I don't think it's quite as often it was before, but it's still there and it's still there enough to be a huge aggravation sometimes," Whittington said.

Engineer Kevin Heath noted that more flow going through the system might improve the situation.

PSA staff has also tried flushing the system by adding water, PSA Chairman Andy Jackson noted.

"I've experienced an awful lot of discomfort in my neighborhood," said resident Gene Othic. His neighbors are having the same problems.

It's a real aggravation to endure on a daily and hourly basis, he said. Othic also believes there's been a reduction in the frequency of the odor, but it's not gone.

The resident disagreed with the idea there's not enough flow to keep the sewage in the pipes moving.

After all, some of the sewage is coming from the busy Interstate 77 Exit 14 business area — the restaurants, convenience stores and hotels, Othic said. "I would think in the evening hours there'd be an increase in the sewage flow from those commercial facilities coming past our front door."

People have also suggested the stench inside the houses is because of bad plumbing. Othic disagreed with this, too. He's checked his drains and knows there's water in the traps that would prevent a backflow odor.

The problem comes from the outside, from the main sewer line, he believes.

Adding chemicals over the long term means a lot of cost to the county. If there's an odor leak, find it and fix it, Othic recommended, so the county won't have to buy those chemicals over the years.

This could also be a health problem. "My wife has a breathing problem, and she's affected by it tremendously."

Othic, a real estate agent, feels his property value has gone down. If the problem's not fixed, he would like the county to consider a reduction in assessed value or in the real estate taxes.

Brigette Payseur got her home connected to the sewer just two weeks ago. Before hooking up to the line, there was no problem with the smell coming up through the drains.

But now, the smell's coming in the house, she said. When water runs, "a little poof" of it comes up.

Payseur called the PSA to complain, and felt she was talked down to.

Jackson assured the residents that the PSA will keep working to solve the odor issue. "We're not going to give up on it."