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Edmonton's Jasper Place Residents Fed Up With Sewer Smell

08/27/2015 02:30 EDT | Updated 08/27/2015 03:59 EDT
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Woman holding nose outdoors

The smell of sewer is so bad in one west Edmonton neighbourhood that residents say they can taste it.

Those living in West Jasper Place are becoming increasingly fed up with the constant stench that's emanating from a nearby sewer construction site, making the whole neighbourhood reek of rotten eggs.

"One incident I had it really scared me because I couldn’t breathe. I woke up and I felt like I wasn’t getting enough oxygen," Irene Blain told Global Edmonton this week. "It is so strong that if you were to plug your nose you can taste it. It is horrendous."

The smell, says CBC News, is a mix of hydrogen sulfide and other gases coming from sewer lines under repair at 151 Street and 99 Avenue. Work on the project was suspended in June after safety issues were discovered, meaning the smell has been a problem for months now.

And it's not just the foul odour that has residents concerned — they're also worried about other health problems caused by the smell.

Blain told 630 CHED that there have been complaints of headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and sore throats.

Andrew Knack, councillor for Ward 1, told CBC the headaches and other symptoms can be traced all the way back to 2011, when the neighbourhood started undergoing renewal projects. He says the sewer line issues date back to then, but the city has not been open about the problems with residents.

"I don't have a firm timeline," he said. "And that's the frustrating thing, I think, for both myself and everybody living by here. Because it's just been under construction for so long."

"We're sorry," he said. "The fact that it has taken this long is completely unacceptable."

Chris Ward, branch manager for the city’s drainage department, told the Edmonton Journal his department is doing "every adjustment we can to try to mitigate this," and that the city has now installed air quality monitoring devices.

The city said they're also pumping bioxide into the sewer shaft and have installed air scrubbers underground. The source of the gas will soon be sealed off with sand and cement, and that should allow for a significant reduction in smell by next week.

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