Sewage odor has employees, visitors struggling to stomach Oklahoma County Courthouse

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Employees at the Oklahoma County Courthouse say they’re having to plug their noses on the first floor while the stench of sewage lingers the halls.

“They’re always saying, ‘What’s that smell? It smells so bad in here,'” said bailiff Lucky Mansker. “It’s obviously sewage, I mean it doesn’t smell like anything else.”

Employees told KFOR in the past week, the courthouse has opened doors and installed scent dispensers just to mask the smell.

“A visitor to the courthouse was gagging over by the elevators because the smell was so bad,” said Mansker.

Maintenance crews said that’s a smell of discovery.

“Since we’re renovating the snack bar, we have the opportunity to take out walls and do a real thorough investigation,” said Chris Ponder, the deputy director of facility management.

Crews said while they’ve been renovating, they’ve found damaged pipes in the nearly 100-year-old building.

“We discovered on the back side of this sewer pipe there was an opening that was releasing sewer gasses,” said Ponder.

Maintenance told KFOR the smell is especially bad because P-trap water dries out every spring and fall.

“Water sits at the bottom of P-Traps. That creates a barrier between the gas and the occupants,” said Ponder. “When the P-Traps dries out, that water barrier is eliminated and the gas can escape.”

Maintenance said those gasses can build up on the first floor and can be overpowering at times.

“My crew is really proactive and trying to get to the bottom of it,” said Ponder. “They’ve come up with some answers in the last week or so that I’m really excited for. I think we have a handle on it.”

In the meantime, employees hope to one day breathe in the fresh air and let out a sigh of relief.

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