More than 16 streets in Lelystad evacuated due to suspicious sewage odors
Residents from the neighborhood of Punter in Lelystad detected a “strange and penetrating” smell coming from the sewer system shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday. This prompted the municipality to evacuate 16 streets. Between 400 to 500 people had to leave their homes as a precaution.
Around 3 a.m. on Sunday an investigation by the RIVM proved that the smell came from a petrol-like substance in the sewers. The fire brigade emptied and flushed the sewers. The water was collected and transported to a water purification company, after which it will be sent to a depot.
Residents initially suspected the fumes to be gas. Emergency services broadcast several NL-Alerts on Saturday night. It is still unclear exactly what substance was responsible for the smell.
The inhabitants were asked by the municipality to spend the night at a friend or family member’s house out of the affected neighborhood. Temporary care was given to those who could not find accommodation. “An overnight stay has been arranged at a hotel in the city for about 25 people”, a spokesperson from the municipality said to NU.nl.
The Red Cross also arrived to help set up beds, chairs, tables and give emotional support to the evacuees. Multiple people who were forced to leave their homes had been in quarantine due to testing positive for the coronavirus. They were taken care of separately.
Police closed off the area and all roads leading to the neighborhood. An ambulance was also on-site as a precautionary measure.
A decision on when residents can return to their homes will be reached Sunday morning.