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Crockett residents fed up with stench from wastewater treatment plant

Crockett stench traced to wastewater treatment plant
Crockett residents fed up with stench from wastewater treatment plant 02:49

CROCKETT - Residents and business owners in Crockett are continuing to raise a stink over the odor hanging around their Contra Costa County community.

As soon as you step outside in Crockett, the smell smacks you in the face. Locals have been living in this for weeks, comparing it to everything from rotten eggs and an outhouse to garbage, sewage and fish.

In actuality, it's hydrogen sulfide gas being released from a wastewater treatment plant at the C & H Sugar refinery.

Inframark, the company that operates the treatment plant, said the blowers that supply oxygen to the treatment reactors overheated during September's record-breaking heatwave.

The company said it is working to mitigate the smell but people who live and work in Crockett have said they are frustrated that they've had to live with the smell and the problems its caused for nearly two months.

Teresa Molina owns The Funky Frog gift shop and has spent hours sitting in the stench both inside the shop and outside her building where she meets with fellow shopkeepers and friends.

"It's been a terrible nuisance. There's not any foot traffic on the street," Molina said.

On Saturday, Molina was taking her break outside the shop and started to feel unwell after she drove home that evening. She suspects the odor may have been to blame.

"I have asthma, so I coughed all night. I had a horrible headache. I was achy the next day. I couldn't even open the shop," she said.

Next door, Lisa Forry's shop Sugar City Pet Supply has been unusually slow.

"People don't want to stop," Forry said. "Even the people in town aren't really out that much, so it's been really my business has been really slow."

Crockett residents held a packed town meeting Thursday where some voiced their frustration about the prolonged problem.

Health officials pointed out that in low levels, hydrogren sulfide is not generally considered dangerous but noted that it can cause nausea, headaches and other symptoms--particularly in those who have pre-existing respiratory issues. They issued a health advisory Friday and said it is likely to be extended through the weekend.

They advised those experiencing symptoms to contact their doctor and stay indoors if possible.

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