River Oaks homeowners fed up with potent smell from wastewater plant

River Oaks homeowners fed up with potent smell from wastewater plant
Published: Jan. 22, 2016 at 10:04 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2016 at 1:19 AM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several people living in the River Oaks neighborhood off Appian Way and Dorchester Road in North Charleston are fed up with a smell in the air.

Many believe it's coming from the nearby wastewater treatment plant.

"It is stinky occasionally," said 24-year homeowner David McDougall. "It smells a little bit like a barn yard."

That stinky odor is coming from the Lower Dorchester Wastewater Treatment Plant which filters sewage water before being emptied into the Coosaw Creek, according the Dorchester County Director of Water and Sewer, Larry Harper.

"I've dealt with it," said homeowner Anna Mitchel. "[I've] been one of those good people and didn't say anything, but it's time to step up and say 'hey stop putting a Band-Aid on this and let's get a resolution done.'"

Mitchel has lived in the area for a few years.

She said the smell comes and goes, but sometimes lasts for days, even weeks.

Last year she tracked the smell on calendar, but stopped because she got frustrated.

"Usually when you add chemicals you get a chemical smell, but usually... you get poop," Mitchel said. "It smells like a thousand porter johns got dumped around here."

"[It's] terrible," said another homeowner. "We've been living here for about nine years now and it's worse. I also compare it to the pluff mud in the Ashley River and it's worse than that."

Harper said it's normal for an odor to come from the wastewater treatment plant.

He said because it's treating 'things' in sewer water, there is bound to be a smell.

"[It would be good] if they could abate it a little bit, I don't know how," McDougall said.

"I have almost a candle burning [24/7] to combat the smell that seeps into house," Mitchel said.

Mitchel believes there is a physical way the plant can decrease the smell.

"Part of the solution is chemicals, but the other half, because of what they're doing here, it needs to have a dome cover with a filter," she said.

Harper said he will need to do more research on the plant before making a comment regarding this possible solution.

Friday afternoon he said he would visit the plant next week to look for possible solutions to minimize the odor.

He said that includes trying to pinpoint the most 'potent' part of the treatment process.

The River Oaks neighborhood, meanwhile, plans to hold a homeowners association meeting on Tuesday at 7:00 at the Faith Assembly Church next to the plant.

This issue is expected to be addressed then among homeowners.

Dorchester County manages two treatment plants. The other one is located in St. George.

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