That bad smell in Everett is real — but so far a mystery

EVERETT — If central Everett seemed to have a bit of a bouquet Friday morning, you weren’t imagining it.

The source of the stink is not certain, but Joanne Todd of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said they had already received a complaint from the Rucker Hill neighborhood by 10 a.m., with the smell described as either “formaldehyde, manure or sewage,” she said.

The stink was also noticeable in the lower elevations of the Port Gardner neighborhood, and the city has received complaints from the 5000 block of Evergreen Way and the 5800 block of Lombard Ave., said Marla Carter, a spokeswoman for Everett’s Public Works Department.

During the day, city staff went out to investigate but couldn’t track it down.

There were not any major sewer line breaks, Carter said, and some manholes that are known for venting noxious odors were also eliminated as the source.

One staff member said that the smell seemed to have come in from the Snohomish River valley, Carter said.

By mid-afternoon, much of the smell appeared to have dissipated, except when the wind came from the southeast.

The Clean Air Agency also opened an investigation into the smell.

“It’s been assigned to our inspector, and if he’s up there he’ll look into it,” Todd said. By mid-afternoon, however, there hadn’t been an update to the complaint.

Agency inspectors are typically on the road all the time, making regularly scheduled inspections, so spot checks of sudden events are usually dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“Odors in particular are really hard to nail down,” Todd said.

The inspectors have to visit the site where the complainant detected the smell and work from there.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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