Local News

'Rank' Smell Haunts Cary, Officials Struggle to Stop Stench

Posted January 4, 2008 5:37 p.m. EST
Updated January 4, 2008 6:39 p.m. EST

— Nancy Budwine loves to sit on her porch and take in the view. What she can’t take is the smell.

Her Cary neighborhood has been fighting for fresh air since a sewage treatment plant left the area with an unbearable smell.

“You can smell it pretty much anytime,” Budwine said.

Just beyond the trees of her house is the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility.

“If an outhouse isn’t taken care of, it’s pretty rank,” Budwine said, laughing. “Multiply it by a whole city’s worth. It’s pretty bad.”

Homeowners said they signed a waiver acknowledging the nearby sewer treatment plant when they moved into the subdivision. But they say they were promised the odors would be minimal and infrequent.

The Town of Cary tried to solve the problem by putting in a permanent odor control system at the plant in November 2006, which cost $654,000. Neighbors said they have yet to notice any improvement in the odor.

Public works officials said they've tried several odor-controlling measures, but the odor lingers. They're now in the process of hiring consultants to figure out the source.

“We’re trying to determine where the problems are so we can go in and fix that,” said Public Works Director Mike Bajorek.

The study is expected to be done by spring, but a permanent fix could take even more time. Budwine said she just wants the smell to stop.

“Maybe they can give us a specific date that they can take care of it so we can move on and come outside,” she said.