What’s that stench on I-440?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – You may have seen signs on the highway warning us that traffic is ahead or telling us that bad weather soon may be coming.

But how often is it that you see a sign warning you that the area is going to smell?

For drivers on one stretch of Interstate-440, they see it and smell it every day.

“I’m going to keep it real, it smells like you’ve just done a No. 2,” said driver Ricky Garris.

“It’s really bad,” said Alan Young, driver. “I mean it’s real strong.”

The signs say, “Odor May Occur. Sewer Lift Station Repair.”

“My son asks me, ‘Dad, did you just pass gas or something?” said Garris. “I said, ‘No, son. It’s been that way for years.'”

The smell is around the Highway 64, Poole Road area of 440.

It comes from the sewer lift station below the highways.

About half of the city’s wastewater flows to this location every day.

“We’ve tried to seal up that bypass system as best as we can, but there are still going to be some times where you’re going to have an odor issue,” said Ed Buchan, Raleigh Public Utilities Environmental coordinator.

The city is rebuilding the sewer lift station.

The plan is to have it done by August.

Until then, it’s going to smell and, on some days, it will be more than the usual sewer smell around the facility.

“We certainly apologize for hopefully that temporary issue,” said Buchan. “We try very hard to make sure that’s a minimum.”

But, with these changes and other changes on the way, the city hopes to rid the area of the stench.

“That would be wonderful,” said Garris. “It can be nothing but an improvement.”

The project started in August and is costing the city $8 million, which Buchan said is about $1 million less than the original budgeted amount.

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