Mysterious odor plagues neighborhood

March 11, 2009 8:23:26 PM PDT
For days now, a mysterious odor has taken over a neighborhood in Philadelphia's Roxborough section.Water department crews worked late into the Roxborough night.

Earlier they had used a self-propelled remote camera to search through underground lines. Later, a huge truck mounted cleaning system was brought in.

All were efforts to find the source of contamination creating fumes and to get rid of it.

The complaints started on Sunday and intensified yesterday.

"When we came home on Tuesday afternoon, we opened up the front door, and it just knocks you over," resident Kathy Strittmatter said.

The city now thinks the continuing odor is coming from some amount of clear kerosene that's contaminated an underground stream that flows through a culvert into the storm sewers.

The stream and culvert may have recently been diverted because of some residential construction.

One theory is a leaking fuel tank.

Residents are hoping for relief.

"There's lots of small children, I have a 4-year-old son, and I just want to make sure he is safe," Strittmatter said.

Neighbors say when they first wanted to complain to the city they called the new 3-1-1 center. They said they hit a lot of dead ends.

So the residents reverted to calling a city councilperson's office. In this case, it was Blondell Reynolds Brown's office.

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