Saturday, January 05, 2008

Foul odor smelled by many across South Jersey

A foul scent yesterday led hundreds of South Jersey residents to call police. The reports peaked about 9 a.m., dispatchers said. Some callers reported a natural gas leak or the scent of burning acid.
The stench seemed to be most concentrated in central Gloucester County, but it was noticed as far away as Asbury Park and parts of Ocean County, a state police spokesman said.
Petroleum refineries line the Delaware River in northern Gloucester County. A spokeswoman for Valero Refining Co. said published reports linking Valero's East Greenwich Township facility to the smell were unfounded. A "glitch" at the plant Thursday afternoon released higher-than-usual amounts of sulfur into the air, said spokeswoman Claire Riggs, but the release was within "acceptable limits" and was not noticed in the immediate vicinity.
Air testing over a wide area found no evidence indicating the odor might be harmful, said state police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones. Local police and the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness were investigating the odor, along with state troopers and county offices of emergency management. - Sam Wood

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