Residents making big stink over Angier stench

ANGIER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Talk about something that stinks: just imagine living right next door to a wastewater treatment lagoon. That's the case for dozens of families in Angier.

The town's old wastewater treatment plant, still used at times, often throws up a terrible stench that neighbors say is unbearable. They've been living with it as long as they've been in their homes (the lagoon was built in 1986, before the neighborhood now nestled behind it), but they say the town should be doing more to mitigate the smell.

"You just have to readjust your life to it," said Betty Odom, who's lived in the Fox Field neighborhood for the past six years. "We don't do much when it's outside. Even to cut the grass, you still smell it, you know?"

Odom's neighbors talk about days when their kids can't play outside and mornings when they drive a few feet to the bus-stop so they can wait with windows rolled up. Odom says, for her, it came to a head four years ago, on the 4th of July.

"Everybody had company, they were trying to cook out, and it was nauseating that day. It would make you feel like you wanted to throw up."

Angier Town Manager Coley Price says that smell is actually part of the treatment process.

"It's a living process. [The algae] does have the tendency to rise, that's just proper process for what a facultative lagoon is designed for," Price explained.

Price says they do treat the water but are out of options when it comes to cutting down on the smell. Angier does have a newer wastewater treatment plant a few miles from the old one, but it was shuttered a few years back when the town partnered with the county for wastwater services.

Now, when there's spillover, what spills over is pumped back to the old lagoon. Price says switching to the newer facility would solve the smell, but would cost too much money.

"That's what hurts," said Betty Odom, "that you don't count. You pay your taxes but you don't count. I just think they should do something about it. It ought not affect your life that you can't get out and have a cookout and have your friends outside in the summer."

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