A salty breeze from the Gulf isn’t the only aroma floating around Point Washington.
A lift station located near the intersection of County Highway 98 and North County Highway 395 has been a source of debate for locals who are upset about its odor and inconvenient impact on the community.
Over the years, signs have been put up near the station exemplifying local’s distaste for the foul smells, with the most recent — which has since been removed — reading “Welcome to Point Washington. Smell our Poop.”
While the sign might look official and voices some residents’ opinions in a light-humored way, Louis Svehla, public information manager for Walton County, said it was illegal and will be taken down every time it’s discovered.
“Unfortunately, this is something that a member of the public keeps putting in that area, so the county has continued to respond to the removal of that sign,” Svehla said.
The fecal sign has been removed and replaced a few different time, according to Svehla, with it improving from a cardboard cutout to a legitimate-looking street sign along the way.
He added the county wasn’t involved in the lift station, but that it was under the control of Regional Utilities.
“Lift stations, from time to time, emit odors kind of regardless of their situation, which is why that one was put in such a remote location,” said Ryan Douglass, engineering manager for Regional Utilities.
He said the station has been in its current location for more than 20 years. He wasn’t sure what type of filtration system it had, but knew that some form of one was in place.
“Shooting it straight, we know what goes through a lift station, and we know it smells from time to time,” he said, and added that the station near the intersection of 98 and 395 is one of the larger stations in the area, and handles a majority of waste moving to the Point Washington Treatment Plant. “We don’t ever want to appear that it’s not something that’s on our radar.”
However, for those actually living in Point Washington, like resident Jay McManus, the smell can be annoying.
“It’s not uncommon for that lift station to vent off and create a very nauseous poo smell that covers that whole area,” McManus said, who said he thought it was hilarious when the sign gets put up.
McManus said he spent 21 years in the Navy and had experience working with sanitary and plumbing systems. His suggestion was to either relocate the station or install a charcoal filtration system, a trick he said the Navy uses.
“It’s very unfortunate because that’s the first thing you smell when you come into this historic district, whether you’re going to the state park to enjoy the gardens, the historic Wesley House, or coming to enjoy the boat launch, our state forests, or some of the residential communities and neighborhoods,” he said.