REALITY CHECK: Eight Mile Residents Report Mercaptan Smell After Hurricane Nate
EIGHT MILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
Carletta Davis and other Eight Mile residents like Randy McCall say they've lived with a rotten egg stench for 9 years now.
"My son still has nosebleeds," said Davis.
"It's inhumane for people to sit back like this is not happening," said McCall.
In 2008, lightning struck an underground Mobile Gas line, causing the mercaptan leak that plagues the community.
But residents say after Hurricane Nate rolled through, the smell became stronger than usual.
"The odor was really strong when you crossed Eight Mile Creek on Highway 45. And then again today when we went up Shelton Beach Road, the smell was very very strong and of course people were standing out at the bus stop in this odor this morning," said Davis. She said the smell was so bad her eyes were burning and she developed a headache just from driving through it.
"We need to know what this stuff is doing to us," said Davis.
But her family's health isn't her only concern.
"What if there was truly a gas leak and we've been so used to smelling this mercaptan that we think it's mercaptan but it's actually a gas leak, then people lose their lives because they haven't called it in," said Davis.
After speaking with Davis, NBC 15's Christian Jennings reached out to Spire, the company formerly known as Mobile Gas.
Spire's communications manager Jenny Gobble sent crews to check out the specific locations Davis mentioned, to test for the presence of natural gas.
We're waiting to hear back those results.
We're told some lawsuits filed against Mobile Gas are still pending.
Spire wants people to call the company's emergency line whenever they smell that rotten egg odor.
The line is open 24-7 and the number is 800-292-4008.
Here's Gobble's full response:
"We continue to work in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) throughout this process. Mobile Gas installed two ground water remediation systems near Eight Mile to remove the odorant from the groundwater. These systems use ozone to destroy tert butyl mercaptan in the water. One system treats groundwater that surfaces naturally at the spring. The other is a system of deep wells that pumps groundwater to the surface to be treated.
ADEM monitors our work and provides independent odor patrols. Recent odor patrol reports on file for ADEM indicate principally ‘0’ odor ratings on all eight locations tested, with some non-residential sites receiving a ‘1’ rating (1=odor barely detectable)."