Officials say air is safe despite foul smell in parts of South Jersey; monitoring continues

The source of the fumes was contained earlier Thursday, officials said, though they cautioned that the smell may linger.

Friday, August 12, 2022
Officials: Air is safe despite foul smell in parts of South Jersey
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Officials in Gloucester County, New Jersey say there is no danger from the fumes that blanketed parts of the area with a strong odor.

EAST GREENWICH TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- The smell is foul, and it may linger for a while, but officials in Gloucester County, New Jersey say there is no danger from the fumes that blanketed parts of the area with a strong odor.

Chief Matthew Brenner of the East Greenwich Township Police Department said during a news conference on Thursday afternoon that nothing harmful has been detected in the air from the fumes that were expelled from a tanker truck.

However, he promised that officials will continue to keep an eye on the situation.

"Although the odor was strong and pungent, the air quality was not detecting anything harmful for our local residents or businesses," he said. "We're continuing to monitor that as we speak."

The odor is coming from an additive to a product called Lubrizol-1389.

After receiving numerous 911 calls of an odor around 3 p.m. Wednesday, emergency crews discovered a truck hauling the chemical at the TA Truck Service Area on the 100 block of Berkley Road in near Paulsboro off I-295 expelling fumes from its tanker.

The source of the fumes was contained earlier Thursday, officials said, though they cautioned that the smell could linger for days.

Brenner said the county has set up a 911 call center just for this incident.

Mitigation efforts which included scrubbing and cooling operations continued Thursday night, .

Annmarie Ruiz, of the Gloucester County Health Department, said anyone experiencing mild irritation such as eye itching, sore throat, vomiting or headache should seek medical attention.

Ruiz said that she does not know of anyone who has been hospitalized because of this incident.

The truck expelling the chemical remained on location early Thursday morning.

Officials say there was no leak. Rather, the truck was releasing the fumes because of the high temperature.

"It's doing exactly what it should do. When the temperature rises to a certain level, the vessel itself will actually expel fumes. So it's built to do that," said East Greenwich Township Police Chief Matthew Brenner. "There's no leak per see."

The chemical sent a "rotten egg smell" across the region.

"It literally burns your nostrils. It gave me an instant headache," said Sarah Rego of Paulsboro.

Truck driver Shane O'Dell was parked right next to the truck.

"I'm going 'no wonder no one wanted to park here,' something's reeking like natural gas," O'Dell said.

Dell says he and another truck driver were running around trying to warn everyone of what was going on.

"It's building pressure every 30 seconds and you could see the vapors. You could see the air just like this. That's how much vapor was coming out of this tank," Dell said.

A representative from Lubrizol says they are aware of the situation and investigating but have no further comment.

The Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management says residents with questions or concerns can call the designated hotline at 856-384-6800. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.