Chicken manure likely to blame for Snohomish-area stench

SNOHOMISH — A stench that led to scores of complaints over the weekend was most likely caused by chicken manure, according to the Puget Sound Air Quality Agency.

An inspector from the agency talked with farmers in the Snohomish Valley and was told the manure was used on fields, supervisor in

spector Mario Pedroza said.

“It’s really possible that at least one farm spread chicken manure over the weekend,” he said.

The inspector was not able to find the exact cause for the odor or to collect concrete evidence. Since this is considered a good agricultural process, the agency has ended its investigation and cannot enforce any odor violation, Pedroza said.

The smell could return if farmers continue to spread chicken manure, he said.

Because of the number of complaints, about 200 in two days, the agency posted on its website how its going to handle future complaints in the area. Their website is

The agency was not the only one conducting an investigation Wednesday.

With concerns that a compost or a solid waste facility could be the cause of the odor, the Snohomish Health District did a separate investigation.

The district’s solid waste and toxics program sent an inspector to the area, manager Gary Hanada said.

They also did not find the exact location of the odor, but the inspector saw manure on fields located on Lowell-Snohomish River Road, he said.

Hanada is not aware of any violations.

People from the Snohomish and Woodinville area started complaining about the smell last week. Some residents said they had to close their windows and doors.

“It’s something (farmers) don’t do normally in the summer,” said Kerrie Doramus, who has lived in the area for almost nine years. “I would remember the smell if it had lasted seven days like this.”

The smell was still present Wednesday morning but was gone in the afternoon, Doramus said.

Knowing what the smell is gives Kindra Shenoy a sense of relief.

“I’m relieved to know what is in the air,” she said. “We would like to know how long it’s going to last.”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;

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