Chemical smell still lingers in Prichard, residents uneasy

PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) Prichard Mayor Troy Ephiram said elected officials and his office received an influx of complaints recently about a foul chemical odor.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management said parts of Eight Mile are contaminated with mercaptan, the chemical added to natural gas to help you detect a leak.

The department linked the chemical to Mobile Gas and has ordered it to clean it up. The gas company set-up an abatement system in a wooded area off Ivaloy Drive.

After Ephriam contacted ADEM about the problem the mayor said he learned details of what may have happened.

 “There may have been a breach of the treatment system that is responsible for pulling the mercaptan contamination out of the groundwater,” said Ephriam. “That breach caused an additional release into the air  which caused a lot of heightened concerned as to whether or not the problem was coming back as opposed to being resolved.”

Mobile Gas is not commenting on the matter citing a case in litigation.  

Meantime, one Eight Mile Resident, Carolyn Gandy, says lately there has been some relief, but not much.

” Reporter: One a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, What grade would you give it? Gandy: an 8. “

Epriham said he is confident ADEM and Mobile Gas are working to get rid of the chemical completely.

“Obviously they have a long way to go they are not quite finished with that project and it could take awhile,” said Ephriam.

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