CHARLOTTE (AP) — A pulp and paper mill in South Carolina emits fumes that smells like rotten eggs and which nearby residents say have caused headaches and sore throats, a North Carolina homeowner says in a lawsuit.
Kenny White, who lives in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte not far from the South Carolina border, filed the private-nuisance, class-action lawsuit against New-Indy Containerboard of Catawba, South Carolina, in federal court in Rock Hill on Tuesday, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The plant, a joint venture that involves New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, is specifically accused in the lawsuit of polluting areas of the Carolinas with “noxious and harmful hydrogen sulfide emissions.”
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless and flammable gas known for its pungent “rotten egg” odor at low concentrations, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is highly toxic, OSHA says, and is used or produced in several industries, including oil and gas refining, and pulp and paper processing.
New-Indy intentionally stopped using pollution-control devices and instead sent “all foul condensate to open-air lagoons,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit cites various government agencies that have found New-Indy responsible for the emissions wafting into neighborhoods in both states.
Residents in areas along the state line have said the pungent odor has infiltrated their homes, causing headaches and sore throats, according to posts on a Facebook page dedicated to the odor.
The lawsuit seeks at least $5 million in compensation for the harm the mill has wreaked on residents.
A company spokeswoman didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment by The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday afternoon.