UPDATE: Source of chemical odor found in Lookout Valley located - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Source of chemical odor found in Lookout Valley located

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"It's a smell that would make you upset, nauseous and want to throw up," said Devon Antoine.

A stinky situation has been floating around Lookout Valley since Friday.

"It smelled like a sewer. It smelled really, really awful," said Antoine.

They're not the only ones who are speaking out about it.

"He's been getting phone calls through today. It's been non-stop,” said Amber Boles, Hamilton County Air Pollution Control.

On Friday night, investigator John Shultz went looking for the source of the smell. "He's familiar with the chemicals that are used in Hamilton County and he happened to smell it and knew what it was immediately and knew of some places that might be a source to that," said Boles.

The smell? A chemical called ethyl acrylate; bringing him to the Chattanooga Tank Wash on Pineville Road.

"We permit a lot of industry in the area and the permits allow them a certain amount of release into the air, but the permits allow them at levels that are not harmful," said Boles.

Ethyl Acrylate has a low-odor thresh hold, meaning a little smell goes a long way.

"At this time they're out there cleaning everything out and our goal is to get the odor out of the area and reduce the health effects that are taking place," said Boles.

But when anything starts to stink, Boles says they don't take it lightly. She says every smell could mean danger. "Our goal is to make sure Hamilton County air quality is healthy and safe to breathe," said Boles.

That's why they monitor the air quality every day, looking out for particles that could hurt you. Since the 60s Boles says they've made significant progress in the air quality, with few hiccups along the way.

"They do happen from time to time. Sometimes they're accidents, sometimes they're malfunctions, but when they do happen we look into it and do what we need to do," said Boles.

The Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau says the odor should be remedied by Monday evening. They say if you smell an unusual odor you can report it by calling 643-5970 and an investigator will look into the matter.

You can also check out a daily air quality report by clicking here.


On Friday night, Chattanooga firefighters were sent to investigate reports of a strange odor in the Lookout Valley area. 

Investigators tell us that firefighters searched the area, but never found the source of the odor.

Investigators also tell Channel 3, John Schultz, an investigator with the Air Pollution Control Bureau eventually tracked the source of the odor to a business, the Chattanooga Tank Wash on Pineville Road. 

Schultz said company employees were cleaning out a tank that had contained Ethyl Acrylate and fumes from that chemical residue spread throughout the area Friday night. 

Schultz said some residents called the Bureau complaining of burning eyes, respiratory distress and throat irritation. 

Fire investigators tell Channel 3, that no serious injuries were reported that involved emergency medical care.

The tank cleaning operation stopped Friday night and Schultz said today's sun and wind should eliminate any remaining odor from the cleaning operation. 

Schultz told fire investigators that the Bureau may pursue enforcement action against the company. 

The investigation will continue.
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