What's that smell?

January 7, 2009 4:16:29 PM PST
Pleasantville homeowner Nancy Lee and her daughter Carmen don't like what they see from their backyard: a giant pile of mulch that looks bad and stinks even worse.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

"When you get up and go to the backyard, I just cannot breathe. My eyes are crying, my nose is running. I hope something can be done," said Nancy Lee.

There may not be anything that anyone can do. The mulch pile is recovered debris from Hurricane Ike that has been sold to a private company, CCG. The company has a state permit to store the debris on the land and all the city of Houston can do is monitor the situation.

"If the owner of the mulch gets a permit, it authorizes them to be able to use the site, to store the material. That doesn't necessarily mean they can do whatever they want," said Gary Readore with the Houston Solid Waste Department.

The city's solid waste and health departments both came out on Wednesday afternoon to check the air quality and were double-checking the permit paperwork. If the smell is above the nuisance level, a ticket can be issued.

"The city should take action and have this removed immediately. I'm sure they wouldn't like it in their own backyards," said Carmen Lee.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, the city's health department did indeed issue a citation for an air nuisance because the smell is overwhelming. However, Eyewitness News also learned that the contractor would not accept that citation.

The health department said it would work with HPD on Thursday to make sure the contractors accept the citation.

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