Durham residents want officials to curtail sewage stink

(CBS North Carolina)


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A community in Durham says day after day strong smells of sewage seep into their lives, and they want the city to make a change.

“It came in the windows and hit us, and it was unmistakably sewage,” said Tara Piccirilli.

Piccirilli just moved into her home near Farrington Road a few months ago.

She says her family loves the outdoors, and the space for her six-year-old daughter to play at the house is great, but the family doesn’t go outside much anymore.

“[My daughter] was complaining about it when she was outside, that it smelled and she wanted to come in,” said Piccirilli.

Piccirilli went online and found out she isn’t the only one complaining about the smell.

“They’re getting stronger. They’re getting more frequent and they’re nauseating,” said John Noble.

Noble and Picirilli both live near the South Durham Wastewater Reclamation Facility. They were joined by several other community members Wednesday as they explained the issue to CBS North Carolina.

Noble says it’s more than just his neighborhood dealing with the odor. He says he knocked on the doors of homes and businesses near the plant, and found out the stench has at least a half mile radius.

“It’s not the quality of life you expect when you live in a city like Durham,” said Noble.

City officials say the community has reached out to them looking for a change.

“We take their concerns very seriously,” said Vicki Westbrook the Assistant Director of Water Management for the City of Durham.

The city is working on a two phase plan to improve the water treatment facilities.

The first phase is estimated to costs $65,429,412.

Phase One will improve both the North Durham WRF and the South Durham WRF. Phase One plans for both plants will focus on several areas including odor control improvements.

Phase Two will also address odor control. But the project will not start for at least another two years. It’s expected to cost an estimated $18 million.

Residents say they want all the odor control improvements addressed during the timeline of Phase One.

Westbrook says despite more working needing to be done to address odor control at the waste water facility, residents should smell a change soon.

“I think the neighbors in the area will be impressed with the results they will see,” she said.

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