Esso Longford neighbours complain of stench

IT took a report from the local media to alert Longford resident, Ray Shingles to the expected duration of a smell at the Esso Longford plants last Thursday.

In a response posted on the ExxonMobil website on April 5, Esso said it was treating the waste water storage pond to reduce the odour, which it expected to recede during the next few days and eventually dissipate.

“While the odour is unpleasant, it is not hazardous and does not present a health risk to our workforce or neighbours,” the statement said.

Esso said it had informed the EPA of all its actions to date, apologising for any inconvenience the odour may have caused.

Mr Shingles said he was aware of the discharge of glycol into the plants’ north pond because of the pungent “rotten egg, sulphur smell” that was wafting over his neighbouring farm, however he didn’t count on the smell lasting for days, something he said Esso was happy to mention on local television without informing its neighbours.

Glycol is an antifreeze agent meant to be retained and reused by the plant for cleaning purposes.

Mr Shingles claims the chemical was released into the waste water pond as a way of cleaning it of crude matter for reuse but instead of cleaning the pond the glycol reacted with the oil to create a bacteria like enzyme that emitted the foul smell.

He said he notified the company and the EPA of the situation before checking into a Sale motel, paid for by Esso, for the night.

“I made it clear I couldn’t go back to the house,” Mr Shingles said, describing the smell as nauseating.

Mr Shingles said Esso sent out a chemist with two personnel to assess the chemical reaction.

He said things got so bad Saturday night the couple tried to book into a motel again, only to discover all were all booked out.