Mayor Tomlinson: Tank farm's rotten egg smell soon to be gone

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comMay 14, 2014 

An above-ground storage facility owned by the Georgia Ports Authority is located between South Commons and the Chattahoochee River.


The rotten egg smell around the old “tank farm” near the South Commons will soon be a thing of the past, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said today.

Following negotiations between the city, local stakeholders, the Georgia Ports Authority and Omega Partners, LLC, the company that leases the facility, Omega agreed to no longer store crude turpentine sulfate, the chemical that gives off the offensive odor, Tomlinson said.

This year, Omega Partners’ 20-year lease from the Ports Authority, which owns the facility, was expiring. With that in mind local leaders urged the authority not to renew a long-term lease, but instead enter into an 18-month lease that would give all involved enough time to come to terms on the long-range use of the property.

As of the end of April, Omega agreed to stop storing the chemical in any of thee two-dozen or so tanks on Lumpkin Boulevard behind Memorial Stadium. But the smell of the chemical may linger until the first week in June, when Omega will scrub and treat the tanks that were used for turpentine sulfate to finally eliminate the odor for good, Tomlinson said.

Involved in the negotiations that led to the agreement were Tomlinson, Deputy City Manager David Arrington, attorneys Milton Jones and Ken Henson, who helped bring the problem to light, attorney Joel Wooten, who serves on the Ports Authority board of directors, and representatives of Omega Partners.

Arrington said Omega Partners was very cooperative in the process and worked with nearby venues to determine a span of a few days when there were no events in the area that could have been disrupted. When the tanks are opened for cleaning, the remaining chemical would get “stirred up,” Arrington said.

“We appreciate Omega Partners’ cooperation and them meeting the commitments they made to the community to remove that chemical from the site,” Arrington said. “We also appreciate their cooperation in making sure that the cleanup won’t have any adverse impact on any events in the area.”

For now, Omega Partners has an 18-month lease on the property, and after that the company, Ports Authority and the city will get back together to talk about the future of the land.

Arrington said there are environmental concerns of having chemicals stored on the banks of the Chattahoochee, as well as concerns about the cleanup costs of repurposing property that has been used for chemical storage for about 50 years.

Henson said Tomlinson’s actions and media attention made the effort work.

“The mayor got everybody together to talk about the problem,” Henson said. “It was her initiative that got it going.”

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