Effingham residents concerned over foul industrial odor

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Residents are concerned about a foul smell in Effingham County. They say they want to know more about the odor that's possibly making people sick.

Paul and Brenda Iwanski say they're happy to welcome DRT America to Effingham County. When it comes to the local economy, they believe the facility is going to be a huge benefit. The couple just hopes DRT will be good neighbors in other areas as well.

"I haven't been able to go to sleep. I get a horrible headache. I've actually been asleep and I've woken up because the smell was so bad. You feel like you're going to throw up. It's a very disgusting feeling," Brenda said.

She says the foul smell is making her and other residents sick. The couple says the smell started several months ago. The most recent experience occurred just two weeks ago.

"It started maybe since October or November. There have been several instances and complaints from residents in the community where we live," Brenda said.

The couple says they live about a mile away from DRT America, a French processor of rosin and turpentine, which recently started operations.

According to the Coastal Health District, the department has not received any official reports regarding the odor and sickness.

Jacob Oblander, Outreach Coordinator for Savannah RiverKeeper, says it wasn't until the facility started operating that he started receiving complaints about the smell.

"There are questions that we have and would just like somebody to respond to or address," Brenda said.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division says the agency has received 12 odor complaints regarding DRT America.

"I'm sure a company as big as this one can go ahead and resolve the issue because they have engineers and people that can go ahead and work on this problem to resolve it," Paul said.

DRT America sent WTOC this statement:

"Since the start-up of the facility, DRT has experienced intermittent odor issues. We are addressing the problem with the assitance of experts. As a new plant, DRT is still working out some operational issues. When DRT learns about an odor, we take immediate action. We plan to restore operations within a few days"  - Corey Schneider, DRT America President

The couple hopes DRT America can find a solution to stop the smell completely.

"We want it to be a cooperative effort where we can have a good life and they can have their environment to do what they have to do as well," Brenda said.

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