Wicker Park

City Work Leaves a Bitter Taste For Wicker Park Bakery, Area Residents

The owner of Letizia's Natural Bakery says his business took a hit since the city started to re-line the sewers

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Chicago bakery owner Fabio Sorano says business at his restaurant in the city's Wicker Park neighborhood has been negatively impacted since the city started using a polymer to re-line the sewers near the eatery in the 2100 block of West Division Street, causing a foul odor inside the establishment.

Sorano says the odor is a very strong 'chemical' smell, like turpentine. He says there were two or three days in recent weeks where the smell was "just brutal."

In addressing the complaints, 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins says residents were notified beforehand.

"We sent out a notice to the neighborhood to let them know we were doing this. To let them know there might be some odors," he said.

He said the use of the polymer to re-line pipes is safe and more cost effective than ripping up peoples' yards and installing new sewer lines. He advises people in his ward to pour water down the drains to cut down on the odor.

The city's Department of Water Management says this project will keep the pipe functioning for about 50 more years.

Other businesses and residences in the area around Leavitt Avenue near Division have also been impacted by the foul odor, and while residents and business owners, including Sorano, understand the city's arguments for the project, they wish they had been warned just how "strong" the smell would be.

"I understand what they have to do and I get it, but if at least somebody had let us know, hey look, from this day to this day, it’s going to smell very bad here, we would have known." he said.

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