WASHINGTON - DC government has shut down a construction site on South Capitol Street near the Navy Yard, after residents of a new apartment building complained that an odor of gasoline was making them nauseous.
The property was formerly home to an Exxon station. Gas tanks that were under the site were reportedly leaking, and the smell was making people sick.
The booming area near the Navy Yard is full of lots of new residences, and dog walkers in the area said they definitely noticed.
"Yeah, when I came in to pick up dogs, yeah I was taken aback this is a gasoline smell -- the exact same smell you would smell in a garage or something it was really strong and nasty," said Paul Weiss, a dog walker in the neighborhood.
"It was pretty bad, I mean it was pretty much in every single hallway. When you walked, a bunch of the dogs were getting sick," says area dog walker Amanda King. She says that someone was sent to the hospital from the fumes. She says outside of the building "it just reeked it was disgusting."
She says since the work has stopped, the smell has been better, but adds "fire trucks were out here last week, last Wednesday. Five of them were surrounding the building because of how bad the smell had gotten and the residents are still complaining,"
A stop work order was posted on the job site by the DC Department of Energy and Environment on Thursday. Since then, the only work on the property has been to tamp down the smell. The property managers, One Hill South Management issued a statement.
"We are aware that some unfortunate odors have persisted as a result of the ongoing construction work in our neighborhood. The well-being of our residents remains our top priority and we are continuing to work with all applicable District of Columbia agencies, as well as the construction and building management teams, to mitigate these odors and make our residents more comfortable.
The construction site once housed a former gasoline station and gasoline storage facility. Since construction started, we have been working closely with the Department of Energy & Environment to voluntarily remediate this site on behalf of Exxon, the previous owner, as we all work to revitalize the neighborhood."
A spokesperson for the city agency says a compound was sprayed onto the dirt and it was then covered with plastic. The apartment building sitting adjacent to the site bills itself as a five-star property with a rooftop pool and a state-of-the-art gym.
Residents reportedly complained that the smell was overwhelming and the property owner says it began working with city officials to rectify the problem. Some residents told us off camera that people were getting nauseous from the smell.
"It was really bad at first like I almost gagged waking up one time and then management just blew it off like it's just an odor--its just a smell and yeah they weren't really doing anything about it until people started filing complaints with the department of energy," said a local man.
City officials met again on Tuesday with the company cleaning up the site. It is unclear when the construction can begin on the building again. The company has now promised to bring in some new equipment to work on the site, so if and when the odor will go away is still to be answered.