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East Side odor so bad it may be ‘becoming a health hazard’

The pastor of an area church says the sewer odor that keeps invading the east side of Pulaski is getting so bad that he fears it is “to the point it’s becoming a health hazard.”
Jerry Collins, pastor of Pulaski Church of God, said the smell has gotten so bad in the church at times that children have gotten sick and some parishioners are talking of leaving the church.
Tuesday, he said, some men working at the church had to leave because they couldn’t “stand the smell” any longer.
Collins said he is concerned that methane gas may be a problem since the odor is associated with the sewer system.
In fact, he said a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently called him to set up an appointment to take air samples. The representative had to change the appointment and Collins hasn’t heard back from him, he added.
The pastor said the church has upgraded equipment to try to keep the odor out of the building, but the smell keeps seeping in.
“We’ve done all we can do to try to eliminate what’s inside the building,” he said, asking Pulaski Town Council what the town is doing to address the problem.
Although the problem has been ongoing for more than a year, Collins said it has gotten progressively worse over the last six months.
He asked for any suggestions council might have for dealing with the issue.
Mayor Jeff Worrell apologized to Collins and all citizens and businesses in that area.
“I share your frustration,” he said. However, he said the town is, and has been, trying to determine the problem and get it corrected.
Town Manager John Hawley said the town has developed an action plan that includes various methods of possibly identifying the source of the stench.
First, he said a time chart is being developed to pinpoint the times the Critzer pump station is running to determine whether that might be causing the problem. Friday, Hawley, Worrell and several others involved in the issue had that pump station activated for a test, but they were unable to determine whether the station was causing the smell or whether the smell was just ingrained in their noses.
Second, the town and Pepper’s Ferry Wastewater Treatment Authority are working to find a laboratory that can test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the odor. He said some VOCs tend to sink into lower areas, which the odor seems to be doing as well.
Third, the town is attempting to find a Virginia Tech student to conduct air testing for the town as a project. The main issue with air testing is determining what to test for, he noted.
Hawley said the air testing can be tricky since the odor can quickly develop and dissipate outside.
However, Worrell said once it gets inside a building, “you’re stuck with it for hours.”
Collins said the odor seems to be “at its worst” when it rains. He said he would be “more than glad” to call the town whenever he senses the odor getting worse so someone can test the air.
Town Engineer Bill Pedigo said a sulfate reading of five parts per million was obtained Tuesday. He said that is a higher reading than there has been “for some time.”
Collins said he had been told that something James Hardie is emitting into the sewer system could be the source of the odor.

Worrell said the company is working with the town also in trying to pinpoint and correct the problem.

East Side odor so bad it may be ‘becoming a health hazard’

The pastor of an area church says the sewer odor that keeps invading the east side of Pulaski is getting so bad that he fears it is “to the point it’s becoming a health hazard.”
Jerry Collins, pastor of Pulaski Church of God, said the smell has gotten so bad in the church at times that children have gotten sick and some parishioners are talking of leaving the church.
Tuesday, he said, some men working at the church had to leave because they couldn’t “stand the smell” any longer.
Collins said he is concerned that methane gas may be a problem since the odor is associated with the sewer system.
In fact, he said a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently called him to set up an appointment to take air samples. The representative had to change the appointment and Collins hasn’t heard back from him, he added.
The pastor said the church has upgraded equipment to try to keep the odor out of the building, but the smell keeps seeping in.
“We’ve done all we can do to try to eliminate what’s inside the building,” he said, asking Pulaski Town Council what the town is doing to address the problem.
Although the problem has been ongoing for more than a year, Collins said it has gotten progressively worse over the last six months.
He asked for any suggestions council might have for dealing with the issue.
Mayor Jeff Worrell apologized to Collins and all citizens and businesses in that area.
“I share your frustration,” he said. However, he said the town is, and has been, trying to determine the problem and get it corrected.
Town Manager John Hawley said the town has developed an action plan that includes various methods of possibly identifying the source of the stench.
First, he said a time chart is being developed to pinpoint the times the Critzer pump station is running to determine whether that might be causing the problem. Friday, Hawley, Worrell and several others involved in the issue had that pump station activated for a test, but they were unable to determine whether the station was causing the smell or whether the smell was just ingrained in their noses.
Second, the town and Pepper’s Ferry Wastewater Treatment Authority are working to find a laboratory that can test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the odor. He said some VOCs tend to sink into lower areas, which the odor seems to be doing as well.
Third, the town is attempting to find a Virginia Tech student to conduct air testing for the town as a project. The main issue with air testing is determining what to test for, he noted.
Hawley said the air testing can be tricky since the odor can quickly develop and dissipate outside.
However, Worrell said once it gets inside a building, “you’re stuck with it for hours.”
Collins said the odor seems to be “at its worst” when it rains. He said he would be “more than glad” to call the town whenever he senses the odor getting worse so someone can test the air.
Town Engineer Bill Pedigo said a sulfate reading of five parts per million was obtained Tuesday. He said that is a higher reading than there has been “for some time.”
Collins said he had been told that something James Hardie is emitting into the sewer system could be the source of the odor.

Worrell said the company is working with the town also in trying to pinpoint and correct the problem.