'What's that smell?': Neighbors complain of foul odor coming from Atlanta water treatment plant

Those living and working in the Bolton and Riverside neighborhoods say they are being awakened in the middle of the night by a strong and foul smell.

The source? A nearby water treatment plant.

It’s gotten so bad that some say they’ve gotten sick.

"It smells like sewage. You are literally breathing sewage air and it’s gross," one man, who wished to remain anonymous, told FOX 5. "I will go to Publix and do grocery run, and you feel disgusted trying to go on a grocery run, and you’re breathing in sewage air."

Neighbors say over the past few days the smell in the air has been unmanageable.

It all points to the R.M. Clayton Water Treatment Plant.

Ellie Parton lives nearby and says she thought it might have been a garbage disposal or septic tank.

"I woke up around 5 a.m. from a dream thinking ‘what is that smell’," Ellie Parton said.

It’s an issue that has those in the area upset.

"People that have been here for ten years say it’s never been as bad as it has the past two days," Parton said.

Residents say rumors circulated that illegal dumping into the sewer is to blame.

FOX 5 reached out to leaders with Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management who say that was not the cause of this recent smell. In a statement, management cited an odor control unit

This morning, the Department of Watershed Management’s primary influent odor control unit at R.M. Clayton was not operational. However, as of 10 a.m., the system is operating and functioning correctly. Neighbors should notice a decrease in odors. – Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Many say while the past few days have been the worst, this smell is not one that’s unfamiliar.

"They might try to chalk it up to this one issue or today but ask anyone. It smells a couple of times a month," one resident said.