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Stink isn't gone after all, residents sick over smell

2 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, March 01 2022 Mar 1, 2022 March 01, 2022 6:29 PM March 01, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A portion of the city-parish's sewer project from years ago is still causing issues for a neighborhood near Highland Road and Lee Drive. Some people living there reached out to 2 On Your Side to see if anything can be done about the smell that is giving them headaches.

Judy Olin says her husband was born in the house they live in on Burgin Avenue. For the last few years, they have been smelling a stench they can't get rid of.

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"When the people in Rouzan flush their toilets, we know it," Judy said.

They're invested in the area. They own about 10 properties and have a welding business with a large clientele. She's tired of apologizing to her clients about the stench.

"It smells like you walk into a privy," she said. "It's embarrassing."

Her tenants agree that the smell is terrible.

Marcella Bunge likes to take walks with her 7-month-old and their dog. She says it smells like sewage, but isn't safe inside either.

"It goes through the window," Bunge said.

This isn't the first time the neighborhood has called 2 On Your Side about the smell. In 2017, WBRZ first reported on a valve at the Korean Baptist Church on Burgin Avenue that opened every so often, releasing an awful smell from underground. That valve, which was temporary, was removed in 2018 and replaced with an odor control unit. It's clear now that unit only does so much.

The city-parish says it replaced the carbon air filter at Burgin Avenue periodically. Olin says it's not working and is concerned about what it's doing to her property value.

"My sister-in-law said today, 'I wouldn't live in that house,'" she said. "I mean, what are we going to do if we want to sell a property?"

Her complaints are only doing so much, and she says the city-parish's solutions are quick patches.

"The only way to rectify it is to tear it up and do it right," Olin said.

It's an option she fears will never happen because of the cost involved. It's why she's considering seeking legal counsel.

"I'm trying to find the right attorney, because I'm tired of fooling with it," she said.

The city-parish says it does change the carbon filter periodically. The new complaints have been passed along to the Department of Environmental Services.

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