Pungent smell worries residents in Concord

November 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Workers contain a smelly oil leak in the East Bay. Authorities say it is safe, but neighbors say they're feeling nauseous. For a time, the pipe was leaking 10 gallons of oil every minute. The leak has been capped, but the smell remains.

Monday night, an overpowering smell of sulfur was in the air and in fact our SKY7 helicopter could smell it as they were flying over the area. The crude oil leak happened underground, coming from a ConocoPhillips pipeline, running through Concord Naval Weapons Station property, near Myrtle Drive.

A spokesperson with ConocoPhillips says the pipeline has since been shut down and no more crude is leaking. There is no word on how much crude has leaked. That information might be released on Tuesday.

County officials told ABC7 the oil is contained and they don't expect it to reach any water source. Despite the strong odor, county officials insist that there is no health risk to the people who live nearby. Neighbors we spoke to said they started noticing the smell Sunday afternoon.

"So we've got ConocoPhillips out here digging it up and so the odor right now is probably 10-times worse than what it was yesterday, so it's kind of hard to breathe, you're eyes get a little irritated," said Concord resident Rob Hengernihle.

"We're all concerned because it's where we are now standing, the air it's clear, but down on our street on Holly Creek Place, it's really thick and we're all kind of concerned about our health right now," said Concord resident Carolyn Rosten.

"If you do get big, strong odors and stuff, they may have gone by your homes, you may want to try to air out your homes to get the odors out. But we don't expect any health effects from these odors, people may feel some transient health effects like headaches and nauseous from some strong odors," said Randy Sawyer from the Contra Costa County Health Services.

At this point there is no word on what caused the leak. Crews will be working overnight to remove the crude oil from the ground and eventually fix the pipe in question. County official expect the smell to decrease sometime on Tuesday.


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