WAREHAM (CBS) – Cohasset Road in Wareham is a great place to grow up. There are packs of kids riding bikes and skateboarding up and down the street. There are a lot of smiles here. Except when you get hit with the smell. “It’s terrible,” said one boy on a bike covering his face mask with his t-shirt. “It’s disgusting,” another boy said.
The problem is the smell from an underground sewer seeping out of the manhole covers. “It wakes me up out of a dead sleep,” explained Shawna Tucy, while chasing a toddler with a baby on her hip.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
Shawna said she has spent the last four years trying to get the town of Wareham to fix the problem, but has been told it is actually sewage coming from Bourne. “They keep pointing their fingers at Bourne and Bourne keeps saying it’s Wareham,” she said.
Deb Warren lives a few houses away. She says the smell is so bad her family can’t enjoy their property. “This is where we play bocce and all the outdoor games,” she said. “You can’t even have a good time anymore.”
Deb and Shawna worry it could be hazardous to the kids’ health. “It can’t be good for you,” Deb said.READ MORE: 'In Like A Lion': March Weather Brings Drastic Swing In Temperatures This Week
Nathan Phillips is a professor in the Earth and Environment Department at Boston University. He said sewer gas can contain hydrogen sulfide, which at high levels can make people feel sick. “Nausea, headaches, itching eyes and respiratory problems,” he said describing some of the symptoms.
So who is responsible to correct the problem? The I-Team Contacted the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. A spokesperson told us: “MassDEP has advised the Town of Bourne to more regularly add chemicals to their sewer system to keep the hydrogen sulfide levels down.”
But Tony Schiavi, the Town Administrator in Bourne, said he never got that advisory and claims crews do ad chemicals on a regular basis. In a statement Schiavi said: “We… are engaging our sewer consultant engineering company to review the issue and determine what if any corrective actions might be required if it is determined to be a Bourne caused issue.”
After numerous attempts to get answers from the town of Wareham, Jim Giberti, Chairman of Wareham Sewer Commissioners sent us this statement: “Wareham WPCF has been working with DEP & BOURNE to resolve the odor issues. Treatment at the pump station prior to the manhole will address the problem on a positive note. In 2013 Wareham applied for renewal of our license. Upon renewal, responsibility will be defined within the license.”MORE NEWS: South Attleboro MBTA Station Closes Due To 'Deteriorating' Pedestrian Bridge
Shawn and Deb just want something done so they don’t have to worry about the safety of the kids on the street. “I really don’t think it’s safe for us to be inhaling it every day.”