Local News

Sewage to blame for strong odor in Warrenton

Posted June 2, 2009 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2009 7:17 p.m. EDT

— Homeowners just outside Warrenton have learned to live with a strong odor that is permeating from the sewer.

“It gets rough sometimes,” resident Shirley Davis said.

Resident Deborah Mayfield described the odor as “terrible” and said it has caused her family to run into the house.

Drivers find it tough to deal with as well. Sandra Hargrove found it hard to explain, but said “It’s really terrible.”

The smell’s origin is miles away at a sewage containment facility in the western part of the county. From there, sewage flows back toward Warrenton. It takes 11 days for the sewage to get there.

Over time, the sewage begins to emit hydrogen sulfide gas, which causes the smell to invade homes and businesses.

“It’s been some tough times,” Warren County Public Utilities Director Macon Robertson said.

Officials say the facility was built because there were plans to put a chicken processing center near it .The center was never opened.

The facility was made to deal with a million gallons of waste a day, but it only processes up to 50,000 gallons of sewage. The smaller amount of sewage takes longer to go through the system and, therefore, the smell is more likely to develop, Robertson said.

Robertson said the state tested the air quality years ago and found levels weren't high enough to pose any health dangers.

Now, county leaders have plans to use a $350,000 from the North Carolina Rural Center to move the sewer line and hopefully the smell for good.

Officials hope to begin work on moving the sewer line to a less populated area later this summer.