Sewer Pipes

Sewer Leak Causes Unpleasant Subway Smell

New York City has never been accused of being the freshest smelling place on Earth, but even by city standards, the Myrtle / Wyckoff stop on the L Train has become malodorous beyond belief. For months, a foul smell has infiltrated the depths of this subway station, turning the stomachs of commuters and sending authorities searching for solutions. What’s to blame? The MTA believes a nearby sewer pipe leak is the cause of the stomach-curdling stink. It’s a potent problem, and a persistent one to boot- first reports of the smell arose in November, but the highest volume of reports came in February, when a surge in foul scents sent NYC denizens into a furor. Those in charge are on record stating that they are actively looking for ways to stanch the stench. In fact, an increased number of MTA workers have been spotted in the area, unclogging proximal pipes that may or may not have a connection to the problem. Most would agree- the daily commute is enough of a hassle as-is; the unwanted addition of sewage-smell is simply too much to bear.

So, something’s afoul in Brooklyn- that so much is true. One question remains: beyond the unpleasantness and annoyance, should you be worried about your safety?

The good news is that, though rotten-smelling, pipe leaks of this nature are very rarely hazardous to your health. Below, we’ll talk about which smells pose dangers to your health and how you can stay aware, and out of harm’s way, when it comes to bad smells.

Is Sewer Gas Hazardous to Your Health?

Hydrogen sulfide, which is the main culprit of smelliness when it comes to leaking pipe sewage, is generally non-toxic in the concentrations it is encountered during leaks. However, in close enough spaces, like tunnels or inside the pipes themselves, hydrogen sulfide could approach levels of toxicity for humans. In open air scenarios, sewer gas does not pose significant health risks to human beings.

What Smells Are Dangerous?

Odors are, technically, chemical compounds dispersed into the air, received by human beings through their mouths and noses, and interpreted as scents. Since the root of all smells are chemicals, there is always a chance that the base chemical could cause health effects. Generally speaking, the smells we experience are in low enough quantities so as to not affect us negatively. In some cases, however, smells can be harmful, or even deadly. This largely depends on the type and concentration of the chemical we inhale. How long one is exposed to the chemical also plays a large part in the potential for damage caused.

Unfortunately, the human nose is an inadequate mechanism for harmful odor detection. Carbon monoxide, which is one of the most common gasses linked with personal harm, is completely odorless no matter how densely it populates an area. Conversely, accumulations of sewage backups, and some other gas leaks trigger nasal alarm almost immediately without posing any serious risks to one’s health.

Exposure to some odors may result in negative health effects, ranging from mild discomfort, to dizziness and nausea, to major nose, throat, eye, or lung irritation, headaches and difficulties in breathing.

Because of the counterintuitive nature of gas danger, wherein detectable smells can be innocuous and untraceable gasses can be killers, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC recommend adopting two equally-as-important behaviors:

  • Investigate, or better yet, report any unusual smells or odors you come across in your home or otherwise. Professionals will be able to determine whether or not these smells present health risks and will be able to find ways to eliminate the danger.
  • Install CO2 detectors in every room of your home. This, the most dangerous gas of all, is the least noticeable, so you cannot rely on your own intuition to protect your family. CO2 detectors are inexpensive, easy-to-install and invaluable when it comes to keeping yourself safe.

Kaplan Lawyers PC

Have you been negatively affected by a gas leak? Has some unseemly odor caused a serious problem for you or a loved one? Sometimes, the neglect or incompetence of a superintendent, landlord or worker causes a dangerous situation. If you’ve been placed in harm’s way, you deserve to be compensated. In cases such as these, determining fault is key. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we offer a team of experienced and skillful attorneys who will work steadfastly on your behalf. We will analyze the details of your case and use them to forge a solid defense- guaranteeing strong results. If you’re not unsure what to do next, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC. Our consultations are a free and easy way to get started, so contact us today.