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'It stings your eyes, burns your nose': Foul odor causing frustration among Park DuValle community

Long-time residents explain the smell of sewage in their neighborhood has been an issue for years, but they said it's gotten worse in recent months.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville residents in the Park DuValle neighborhood say a terrible smell of sewage is hurting their quality of life, both inside and outside their homes.

Corey and Kendra Williams, who live at The Villages of Park DuValle just off Wilson Avenue, say the foul odor has been a problem for years, but they tell WHAS 11 it's gotten much worse in recent months.

"Around 7:30, 8'oclock at night it is just terrible, it's potent. It keeps you up at night," said Kendra, who's also worried about health implications.

Nearby, Ashia Powell has been battling with the same frustrations - saying in many cases the smell seeps into her home.

"It smells like a sulfur based odor. It permeates through the windows, through the vents," Powell said. 

Powell, like the Williams family, lives within a half mile of the water treatment plants in Rubbertown, just off Algonquin Parkway near the Watterson Expressway going West. It's what the community sees as the root of the issue.

"As soon as you hit that curve and pass Cane Run [Road], it hits you in the face immediately. It stings your eyes, burns your nose -- it's really, really bad," Powell said.

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The issues either fall under the responsibility of Louisville's Air Pollution Control District (ACPD) or MSD.

On Wednesday, ACPD spokesperson Matt Mudd told WHAS 11 in the month of September alone they've received more than 100 complaints about smell, 79 of which have been sewer related.

WHAS 11 asked if the non-sewer related odors can be connected back to emissions from the plants. Mudd said they're not ruling anything out.

"Our compliance officers write up reports when they investigate. It's within the realm of possibility it would be against Air Pollution Control District regulations for a facility to be emitting odors outside of their fence lines," he said.

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Meanwhile, MSD spokesperson Sheryl Lauder said the majority of these issues are sewer related, specifically from catch basins in need of repair. She says crews have already fixed 20 in the west end and are working on more.

"It is a lack of rainfall that is mostly the issue," Lauder said. "We are aware that the odors are an issue, particularly in these older neighborhoods that are located near Rubbertown."

Lauder is encouraging Louisville residents to continue to report problems on MSD's website. MSD doesn't cover Southern Indiana.

But community members want solutions as soon as possible. They love their homes and have no intentions of moving.

"Some people may even say, 'Well then why don't you just move?' It's just not that easy, so we need to have stronger regulations," Kendra said.

Residents say they'll be gathering soon at the Southwick Community Center to discuss signing a petition to push city leaders to find solutions.

"Seemingly, nothing is happening, and no one is being held accountable," Corey Williams said.

MSD has been hosting community update meetings in west Louisville on efforts they're making to control odor. The next one comes on Nov. 29, which will then cover downtown and the Highlands.

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Contact reporter Isaiah Kim-Martinez at ikimmartin@whas11.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@isaiah_km) and Facebook.

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