People in the city of Crockett have spent the past week trying to figure out how to protect themselves from an unusual problem: potentially dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide.
The pungent chemical is coming from a local wastewater treatment plant. As of Thursday, it was merely a nuisance, but it could get more dangerous if something isn’t done soon.
About six weeks ago, students and staff within the John Swett Unified School District started noticing the near constant smell of rotten eggs.
“We had no idea what it was,” said John Swett Unified School District Safety Officer John Angell. “As time went on, it smelled like the sewer treatment plant.”
The nearby Crockett wastewater treatment plant is owned by C&H Sugar. The company said operational issues at the site are increasing levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air, creating the stink.
Hundreds of complaints have led to an on-site investigation by the air quality district, which uncovered other potential issues.
“We’ve also issued 16 notices of violation for public nuisance over the past couple of weeks and another one for unpermitted equipment at the site,” Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Kristine Roselius said.
Since last week, the levels of gas have dropped in the area. But due to how long it’s been going on, county officials said people in the area should be on the lookout for certain symptoms.
The site operator said they are using more than 1,300 air diffusers to solve the problem with the goal of fixing the issue in the next 10 days.
In the meantime, the school district is using carbon filters provided by the county to filter the air since masking doesn’t help.
They hope the problem gets fixed sooner than later.
Source: NBC Bay Area