Energy & Environment

Mysterious Smell Has Pearland Residents Complaining, Texas Investigating

There’s a mysterious “stench” in a Houston-area community that’s causing hundreds of residents to complain.

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Residents have filed over 450 odor complaints with the State of Texas
Residents have filed over 450 odor complaints with the State of Texas.

Armani Dozier and his cousin Arian say they sometimes smell it when they're out for a run like they were Wednesday morning.

"It smells like, you could say garbage," says Armani Dozier. Like a dump? "Yes, it smells like a dump."

"The stronger the wind the more pungent the smell is," says Arian Dozier.

Other residents say it smells like sewage, or chemicals. One told us the odor is sometimes so strong it feels like it burns the inside of his nose.

Those kinds of complaints aren't exactly uncommon in some parts of Houston, particularly near the Ship Channel with all its refineries and chemical plants. But these complaints are coming from people living in Shadow Creek Ranch, a master-planned, fast-growing subdivision south of Houston in Pearland.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says Shadow Creek Ranch residents have filed more than 450 complaints about bad odors. The commission says its Houston office has done 18 investigations in just the past six months to no avail. But commission spokesperson, Terry Clawson, told us by email that the complaints continue to come in, so the commission is scheduling more investigations.

Clawson says there are multiple potential sources for the smells. There are some landfills nearby. And there's at least one chemical plant, located just outside the northwest corner of the subdivision.

A chemical plant just outside the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision.
A chemical plant just outside the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision.

The plant — AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry — has had emissions of ethylene oxide, one release just this week according to a state pollution database. A company spokesperson, Danielle Warden, told us she couldn't comment on whether those emissions could be a source of the bad odors. But the company has invited some residents to a closed meeting Thursday.

Armani Dozier, the resident out for a run, says something needs to be done.

"I hope they do something about it because it stinks."

 

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