East End residents complain about foul odor
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Jul 16, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Longtime East End activist Lillian Wade said no matter the weather, a foul odor -- possibly that of sewage -- lingers in the neighborhood air.
The stench has kept her from visiting and enjoying Newfield Park this summer. And, she said, it was just as bad last winter.
"Baby, it was cold. I came through (in a car) one night -- 10 at night -- had my windows rolled up, heat going, and I was like,`Whew'," Wade said Tuesday night at a meeting of the East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone committee.
Many residents blame the city's wastewater treatment facilities along Seaview Avenue for the bad smell.
"They were telling me it comes from the plant," said state Sen. Andres Ayala, D-Bridgeport.
So Ayala arranged for city Water Pollution Control Authority officials and representatives from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to attend Tuesday's East End NRZ meeting.
"A wastewater treatment plant having a smell is not a new issue," DEEP Deputy Commissioner Macky McCleary told the small crowd. "There are many different types of solutions."
But with Bridgeport hoping to draw visitors to the Seaview Avenue neighborhood with new developments such as Bass Pro Shops and a reopened Pleasure Beach, city officials don't need a stink to ruin anyone's good time.
William Robinson, the WPCA's acting general manager, said that while the plant is not perfect, the agency works hard to contain odors.
"At least three times a month, we go around the perimeter of both our plants with an odor detection device," Robinson said.
Another culprit, officials said, could be the city's aged storm water pipes, which in some neighborhoods are combined with sewer pipes.
"Any time we have lots of rain you tend to get more sewer overflow," which can come up through catch basins, said Ted Grabarz, a deputy director of public facilities who also serves as WPCA Commission chairman.
Many of those storm water and sewer lines have been separated in the city's East End and throughout Bridgeport, but more work remains -- and it depends on available funds.
East End NRZ chairman Richardo Griffith, who oversaw Tuesday's meeting, said he has seen feces from the sewer in the street.
"That's not cool," Griffith said. "There are issues we need fixed right away -- instant response."
Both the WPCA and the DEEP urged East End residents to lodge complaints so those agencies can determine the source of the odor and fix the problem.
Grabarz said the wastewater plant has several crews assigned to clean catch basins.
"We need to hear from you," he said.
McCleary agreed, adding that a search of DEEP records found only one complaint from the East End over a decade.
"A call creates a record, which means I've got a paper trail. I can now say,`There's a long history of issues, here,' " McCleary said.
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