Neighbors displaced after chemical reaches homes in Rensselaer

RENSSELAER, N. Y. (NEWS10) – One neighborhood has been displaced after a chemical from an underground sewer seeped into their homes.

Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer says last Thursday a construction company was using a chemical to re-line sewer and water piping on Washington Avenue. Neighbors soon began complaining of an odor seeping into their homes. One person was taken to the hospital and has since been released.

“I just want to be back in my house and have my life kind of back in order,” said displaced resident, Aaron Gagnon.

Gagnon and four other families complaining of the odor were evacuated. Dwyer says the chemicals are not hazardous to breathe in, but he disagrees with citing a material safety data sheet on the product called CIPP, which Aaron says is heavier than air and a respiratory irritant.

Crews were not on scene today to fix the problem because of the weather. Therefore, the city is paying for hotel rooms for residents in the 5 homes impacted.

Residents say they met with city leaders on Monday to discuss the matter. Dwyer says engineers are working to try and determine why the chemical reached residents homes. Dwyer says it could be the cold weather. Meanwhile, Gagnon is concerned about damage to his belongings.

“Everything that’s in the house smells like the smell. The styrene has permeated the clothing in our drawers, closets, our rugs, couches,” Gagnon said.


Tomorrow crews are expected to return to the scene to further investigate the cause.


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