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‘People would vomit’: Edmonton residents bring sour gas concerns to City Hall

WATCH ABOVE: West Edmonton residents dealing with a foul odor in their neighbourhood say they need help. They say what began as a smelly problem has become a health issue. As Kent Morrison reports, they took their issue to City Hall Thursday.

EDMONTON — Residents in West Jasper Place want more to be done about a sour gas smell they say is affecting their health.

“We have been going through hell,” said Irene Blain, civic director of the West Jasper Place Community League. “We have actually developed health, medical concerns because of our exposure to the toxicity of this gas.”

Blain took her concerns to City Hall Thursday. She and several other residents are concerned about the odour, which they describe as a rotten egg smell, coming from a nearby sewer construction site.

“It would be so strong that you would wake up and you could not go back to sleep. People would vomit. Individuals would develop headaches,” said Blain.

Residents first voiced their concerns in August. The city’s drainage department said the problem started after work began to connect the new sewer line to an old one.

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“Just in terms of the odours, it gets released from sewage whenever there’s turbulence or there’s reaction that generates hydrogen sulfide,” said Clement Yong, director of project delivery with Drainage Services.

“We’ve capped that shaft – in August.”

READ MORE: ‘It is horrendous’: West Edmonton residents concerned about sewer odour

Alberta Health Services is also involved. It is working with the city to monitor exactly what is coming up into the air.

Drainage services has also placed hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide detectors at the site to monitor the air quality, but Blain said it’s not enough. She wants the air analyzed to determine exactly what’s in it.

“We need to know what we’re being exposed to, that’s the most concerning.”

Ward 1 City Councillor Andrew Knack said the city will ensure Alberta Health Services provides the proper equipment for that to be done.

“Part of the frustration is just that uncertainty. There seems to be or appears to be concerns, but without proper monitoring, without proper information we’re all just guessing right now,” he said Thursday.

“I’m actually a little shocked it’s taken us this long to get the proper monitoring equipment.”

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A public consultation meeting will be held in the neighbourhood on Nov. 3, and bi-weekly updates will be provided to West Jasper Place residents.

With files Kent Morrison, Global News.