Sickening Smell at Tucker Middle School

The stench of raw sewage has permeated the building for over a month, and school officials seem unable to stop it.

I had the occasion today to visit Tucker Middle School where my son is
in sixth grade. I was appalled at the odor of raw sewage hanging in the
air in the sixth grade hall. I mentioned my concern to the front office.
I was informed the problem has persisted for well over a month.

This is not a faint, occasional whiff of sewage. This is a thick, hangs
in the air and fouls your clothes smell.

My son has had a cough for a month. Most of his classmates also have the
same symptoms. The front office informed me that many of the teachers
are also experiencing the same symptoms.

National Institute for Health (NIH) considers exposure to sewage smells
to be a health risk. The abstract published here
http://oem.bmj.com/content/56/5/354.abstract outlines their concern for adult workers at sewage treatment plants.

Due to the length of exposure time and the prevalence of current health
problems, I strongly recommend the school be closed until the underlying
sewage leak has been resolved.

I will be contacting the DeKalb Board of Health, the plumbing inspection
department and CDC to contact Tucker Middle and assist where applicable.
If this were day one or two, I would not be as concerned. Since this
situation has been ongoing for over a month it's time to act very
quickly and decisively.

Jim Kinney

Eileen Stone March 12, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Thanks for shedding light on this! My daughter is a 6th grader there, too, and has been having similar symptoms to those described in the abstract for the last 3 weeks!
Kevin Madigan March 12, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Eileen - Could I speak to you for a follow-up article? Please let me know. I can be reached at kevin.madigan@patch.com or 404 769 2451. Thanks.
Tammy Bonner March 15, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Thanks for keeping me in the loop on this matter. My daughter is a 6th grader at TMS . Please keep me informed. Thanks
Kevin Madigan March 15, 2011 at 09:35 PM
I would like to talk to any parents whose children are affected by fumes at Tucker Middle or any other schools. Contact me at kevin.madigan@patch.com. Thanks.
Cheryl Miller July 23, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Talk to the parents at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Lithonia. They experienced the same thing for a year or more and had to shut down a portion of a wing. There was poor workmanship in the construction with a pipe that made too sharp of an angle, from what I recall hearing. To correct it would mean tearing up a portion of the foundation. I do not know if it has been resolved, but it would be interesting to note if the same construction company was used for both schools. You may be able to make a case before the board that the issue should be place on #1 priority for the allocation of SPLOST IV funds which has some money for school improvements, although I am not sure if your school has to be on a list in order to be allowed to access that money. Good luck. Just curious, Jim, why is it okay for you to write on the Patch about an issue at your child's school that you think your neigbhors would be interested in knowing, yet you practically called me an uneducated idiot when I tried to do the same thing a year ago when I learned Brockett was placed on a list to receive a cell tower? Just making a mental note. I hope you do, too, as I would never imply to others that you might be a bit crazy to think the schools could make children sick, but at least we are now both on the same side trying to warn others that yes, indeed, this is something very possible in DeKalb.


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