Stench causes mess at SJ's Mineta airport

A stinky situation at Mineta San Jose International can cause the city thousands of dollars.
August 19, 2010 7:16:09 PM PDT
There's an elusive problem at Mineta San Jose International Airport. It's lurking behind closed doors on the first floor of the newly renovated Terminal A. You can't see it, but apparently you can smell it.

"It's been described as a sewer smell, associated with sewer pipe," airport spokesperson Davin Vossbrink said.

The airport first got reports from airline offices about this unpleasant smell in April. The theory is something happened during construction; something perhaps disconnected or broke during the work. But months of inspections of the plumbing system have turned up little.

A few leaks were found and fixed, but that hasn't stop the mysterious, nauseating smell from resurfacing.

"We have flushed all of our drains multiple times. We sent TV cameras down into the sewer lines and we're going to do another smoke test next week. We have been on this night and day for months, and it comes and goes," Vossbrink said.

Airlines who work in the smelly zone are with United, U.S. Airways and Continental. Fortunately for passengers, it's sticking to a secure area of back offices.

ABC7 spoke with numerous airline employees and they said it really stinks and it feels like a sewer.

"We've put fans, air fresheners, picnic tables to have lunch breaks," Vossbrink said.

There was some commentary about the airline offices withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly rent payments to the city until the smell is fixed, but the airport denies that.

The quest to remove the odor continues.


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