PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) - The City of Prichard planned a meeting in response to the smell that has plagued the Eight Mile community for months now.
It was a training workshop educating the public on their environmental rights.
Officials said once people understand the laws, it will help them find a solution.
"It's hard to breathe. And then sometimes, the water doesn't taste too good; and then at night, that's when you really get sick is night," said Eight Mile resident, Wilaiemae Marwood.
"The odor is so bad you can hardly catch your breath, and you can't see because your eyes burn, and they turn red. You can't sleep with your windows open because it comes in and you wake up choking and coughing. The coughing is really bad," said Eight Mile resident Arizia Williams.
Environmental scientists used the workshop to pinpoint problems the community is having with the smell.
"We wanted to make sure the Eight Mile community received the necessary tools to address the issue so they would understand more about environmental laws, more about the community, and how to approach this in a way to get some real results from it," said Prichard Environmental Scientist, Debra Love.
The meeting was broken up into groups where residents answered questions on four topics regarding the community's demographic, environmental laws, health effect and involvement.
"Once they answer all the questions, they will have a guide to present to regulators," said Love.
The information obtained will go into an environmental guide giving residents some resources on how to deal with the problem. Love said that information will be accessible on the City of Prichard website.
"This will give you the tools to see what you need to know before you go forward and say I want this, this, and this done. We want them to understand the environmental justice process," said Love.
Earlier this month, Mobile Gas said that, after sampling water from a stream in that area, they found high levels of Mercaptan, the same chemical the company uses to add odor to natural gas.
Spokes person for Mobile Gas, Kesshia Davis, said a lightening strike in 2008 released Mercaptan into the soil.
Kesshia said Mobile Gas is running tests to see if clean up efforts were successful and if that is the source of the smell.
Prichard Mayor Ron Davis said the Environmental Protection Agency sampled the air in Eight Mile Tuesday morning.
"Air sampling is going to tell us how much residence in this area are actually consuming through the air," said Mayor Ron Davis.
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