Year later, complaints continue over pungent smell in Brunswick

Documents show more than 100 complaints made about smell

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A strange smell has some people in Brunswick concerned.

Documents show the complaints began in December 2020 and have continued. They triggered a state investigation into the cause of the smell.

The homeowner, whose name we are not disclosing for safety purposes, was excited about moving into her new Brunswick home about a month ago until she opened her windows. She said she noticed the smell almost immediately.

“As soon as I started opening the windows and taking walks it was pretty evident,” the homeowner said.

She called the Glynn Environmental Coalition. Rachael Thompson is the executive director there.

She said the homeowner was one of more than 100 people who have called in complaints of the weird, pungent smell.

“People in their homes, not being able to breathe and their homes getting inundated with this chemical odor smell,” Thompson said.

Thompson is tracking the complaints.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division and Air Protection of Environmental Protection Department in Atlanta are among multiple agencies investigating.

“We are going to keep the investigation going as long as we continue to get complaints. We take every complaint seriously,” said Brett Berry, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Georgia’s Air Protection Branch looked at data to figure out where the smell is coming from.

Berry said the investigation determined “that area was within a one-mile buffer of Brunswick Cellulose and Academy Creek the wastewater treatment plant.”

A separate independent investigation from the University of Georgia concluded based on data and wind direction that “over 80 percent of complaints were downwind of the Georgia Pacific plant...”

According to Berry, companies that might be contributing to the smell have made corrective actions, including Georgia Pacific’s Brunswick Cellulose facility, which added a chemical to reducer sulfur compounds and installed additional air monitors, and the Academy Creek wastewater facility, which has enclosed the area where sewage comes in for treatment.

Still, Berry says, complaints about the smell continue. He says as long as they continue, the investigation will remain open.

The homeowner said she can not get out of her contract for her home and she hopes the smell goes away soon.

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